Skip to main content

Full text of "Memories of the Russian court"

See other formats





MACMILLAN  &  CO.,  Limited 






n   r 

5  6  li  ^-  '-> 






M!CROf:^"^'^^^^:)  by 

.  wr 

>  J  V  V  i  '■_  ;^  *J 

pateJANOG  1989 

o  > 










"When  you  are  reproached — bless ;  when  per- 
secuted— be  patient;  when  calumniated — com- 
fort yourself;  when  slandered — rejoice;  this  is 
your  road  and  mine."    Words  of  St.  Seraphine. 

Alexandra  Feodorovna,  from  Tobolsk, 
March  20,   1918 

Yea,  though  I  iialk  through  the  valley  of  the 
shado'iv  of  death  I  shall  not  fear.  Thy  rod  and 
Thy  staff  shall  comfort  me. 


The  Empress  of  Russia  in  Her  Happy  Days    .     .  Frontispiece 


The  Empress  Driving  Her  Pony  Chaise 8 

The  Empress  with  Grand  Duchess  Tatiana  in   Her 

Bedroom,  Tsarskoe  Selo 8 

Alexander  Sergievitch  Tanieff 9 

The  Winter  Palace,  Petrograd 20 

Military  Review,  Tsarskoe  Selo 21 

The  Emperor  and  Empress  in  a  Quiet  Hour  on  Board 

the  Imperial  Yacht 32 

The  Empress  Distributing  Presents  to  Sailors  at  the 

End  of  a  Cruise 33 

LivADiA,  THE  New  Palace  of  the  Tsars  in  the  Crimea  38 

A  Corner  of  the  Court  of  the  Palace  of  Livadia    .     .  39 

The  Imperial  Children  Bathing  in  the  Black  Sea  at 

Livadia 39 

The  Imperial  Yacht  Arrives  at  Livadia,  the  Crimea    .  50 

The  Tsar,  Grand  Duchesses  Olga  and  Tatiana  and 

Mme.  Viroubova  at  Homburg 51 

The  Empress  Giving  Alexei  a  Lesson  on  the  Terrace  .  74 

Alexei  Playing  in  the  Snow  at  Tsarskoe  Selo     ...  74 

The  Empress  in  Bed  with  Convalescent  Tsarevitch     .  75 

Grand  Duchesses   Olga  and  Tatiana  on    Board  the 

"Stanert" 78 

The  Tsarevitch  with  His  Cousins,  Children  of  Grand 

Duke  Ernest  of  Hesse 79 

Nicholas  II  and  the  Tsarevitch  on  Board  the  Imperial 

Yacht  "Standert" 80 




The  Tsarevitch  with  His  Sailor,  Derevanko     .     .     .       8i 

The  Tsar,  Tsarina,  and  Alexei  in  the  Gardens  at 
Tsarskoe  Selo 8i 

The  Emperor  and  Empress  in  Old  Slavonic  Dress, 
Jubilee  of  1913 98 

The  Invalid  Empress  on  the  Balcony  at  Peterhof      .       99 

The  Guest  Room  in  Rasputine's  House  in  Siberia    .     .     169 

The  Three  Children  of  Rasputine  Before  Their  House 
in  Siberia 169 

The  Empress  and  Young  Grand  Duke  Dmitri,  After- 
w^ards  One  of  Rasputine's  Assassins 184 

Minister  of  Court  Count  Fredericks,  the  Empress  and 
Tatiana  Taking  Tea  in  Finnish  Woods      ....     185 

Grand  Duchesses  Olga,  Tatiana,  Anastasie,  and  Marie, 
Prisoners  at  Tsarskoe  Selo,  191 7 266 

Anna  Viroubova  Shortly  After  Her  Release  from  the 
Fortress  of  Peter  and  Paul 267 

Letters  from  Nicholas  II  to  Anna  Viroubova,  from 
Tobolsk,  191 7 306 

Letters  from  Alexei,  Tatiana,  and  Marie,  Smuggled 
FROM  Siberia  in  191 7 307 

One  of  the  Empress's  Last  Letters  to  Mme.  Viroubova, 
Written  in  Old  Slavonic,  191 8 320 

Smuggled  Letter  from  the  Empress  on  Birchbark  after 
Paper  Gave  Out 321 

The  Ex-Emperor  and  Alexei  Feeding  Turkeys  in  the 
Barnyard,   Tobolsk,    1918 342 

The  Last  Photograph  Taken  of  the  Empress  and  Her 
Daughters,  Olga  and  Tatiana,  Shortly  Before  the 
Murder  of  the  Imperial  Family  in  Siberia       .      .  343 

Note:  With  verj'  few  exceptions  all  these  photographs  were 
taken  by  members  of  the  Imperial  Family  and  by  Mme.  Virou- 
bova, all  of  whom  were  experts  with  the  camera. 





IT  is  with  a  prayerful  heart  and  memories  deep  and 
reverent  that  I  begin  to  write  the  story  of  my 
long  and  intimate  friendship  with  Alexandra  Feodo- 
rovna,  wife  of  Nicholas  II,  Empress  of  Russia,  and 
of  the  tragedy  of  the  Revolution,  which  brought  on 
her  and  hers  such  undeserved  misery,  and  on  our  un- 
happy country  such  a  black  night  of  oblivion. 

But  first  I  feel  that  I  should  explain  briefly  who  I 
am,  for  though  my  name  has  appeared  rather  promi- 
nently in  most  of  the  published  accounts  of  the  Revo- 
lution, few  of  the  writers  have  taken  the  trouble  to 
sift  facts  from  fiction  even  in  the  comparatively  un- 
important matter  of  my  genealogy.  I  have  seen  it 
stated  that  I  was  born  in  Germany,  and  that  my  mar- 
riage to  a  Russian  officer  was  arranged  to  conceal  my 
nationality.  I  have  also  read  that  I  was  a  peasant 
woman  brought  from  my  native  Siberia  to  further  the 
ambitions  of  Rasputine.  The  truth  is  that  I  am  un- 
able to  produce  an  ancestor  who  was  not  born  Rus- 
sian. My  father,  Alexander  Sergievitch  Tanieff, 
during  most  of  his  life,  was  a  functionary  of  the  Rus? 
sian  Court,  Secretary  of  State,  and  Director  of  the 
Private  Chancellerie  of  the  Emperor,  an  office  held 



before  him  by  his  father  and  his  grandfather.  My 
mother  was  a  daughter  of  General  Tolstoy,  aide-de- 
camp of  Alexander  11.  One  of  my  immediate  an- 
cestors was  Field  Marshal  Koutousoff,  famous  in  the 
Napoleonic  Wars.  Another,  on  my  mother's  side,  was 
Count  Kontaisoff,  an  intimate  friend  of  the  eccentric 
Tsar  Paul,  son  of  the  great  Catherine. 

Notwithstanding  my  family's  hereditary  connection 
with  the  Court  our  own  family  life  was  simple  and 
quiet.  My  father,  aside  from  his  official  duties,  had 
no  Interests  apart  from  his  home  and  his  music,  for 
he  was  a  composer  and  a  pianist  of  more  than  national 
fame.  My  earliest  memories  are  of  home  evenings, 
my  brother  Serge  and  my  sister  Alya  (Alexandra) 
studying  their  lessons  under  the  shaded  lamp,  my  dear 
mother  sitting  near  with  her  needlework,  and  my 
father  at  the  piano  working  out  one  of  his  composi- 
tions, striking  the  keys  softly  and  noting  down  his  har- 
monies. I  thank  God  for  that  happy  childhood  which 
gave  me  strength  of  soul  to  bear  the  sorrows  and  suf- 
ferings of  after  years. 

Six  months  in  every  year  we  spent  in  the  country 
near  Moscow  on  an  estate  which  had  been  in  the  family 
for  nearly  two  hundred  years.  For  neighbors  we 
had  the  Princes  Galatzine  and  the  Grand  Duke  and 
Grand  Duchess  Serge,  the  last  named  being  the  older 
sister  of  the  Empress.  I  hardly  remember  when  I 
did  not  know  and  love  the  Grand  Duchess  Elizabeth, 
as  she  was  familiarly  called.  As  small  children  she 
petted  and  spoiled  us  all,  often  inviting  us  to  tea,  the 
feast  ending  in  a  grand  frolic  in  which  we  were  al- 
lowed to  search  the  rooms  for  toys  which  she  had 


ingeniously  hidden.  It  was  at  one  of  these  children's 
teas  that  I  first  saw  the  Empress  Alexandra.  Quite 
unexpectedly  the  Tsarina  was  announced  and  the 
beautiful  Grand  Duchess  Elizabeth,  leaving  her  small 
guests,  ran  eagerly  to  greet  her.  The  time  was  near 
the  beginning  of  the  reign  of  Nicholas  II  and  Alex- 
andra Feodorovna,  and  the  Tsarina  was  at  the  very 
height  of  her  youthful  beauty.  My  childish  impres- 
sion of  her  was  of  a  tall,  slender,  graceful  woman, 
lovely  beyond  description,  with  a  wealth  of  golden 
hair  and  eyes  like  stars,  the  very  picture  of  what  an 
Empress  should  be. 

For  my  father  the  young  Empress  soon  conceived  a 
warm  liking  and  confidence  and  she  named  him  as 
vice  president  of  the  committee  of  Assistance  par  le 
Travail.  During  this  time  we  lived  in  winter  in  the 
Michailovsky  Palace  in  Petrograd,  and  in  summer  in 
a  small  villa  in  Peterhof  on  the  Baltic  Sea.  From  con- 
versations between  my  mother  and  father  I  learned  a 
great  deal  of  the  life  of  the  Imperial  Family.  The 
Empress  impressed  my  father  both  by  her  excessive 
shyness  and  by  her  unusual  intelligence.  She  was 
above  all  a  motherly  woman  and  often  combined 
baby-tending  with  serious  business  affairs.  With  the 
little  Grand  Duchess  Olga  in  her  arms  she  discussed 
all  kinds  of  business  with  my  father,  and  while  with 
one  hand  rocking  the  cradle  where  lay  the  baby  Ta- 
tiana  she  signed  letters  and  papers  of  consequence. 
Sometimes  while  thus  engaged  there  would  come  a 
clear,  musical  whistle,  like  a  bird  call.  It  was  the 
Emperor's  special  summons  to  his  wife,  and  at  the 
first  sound  her  cheek  would  turn  to  rose,  and,  regard- 


less  of  everything,  she  would  fly  to  answer  it.  That 
birdlike  whistle  of  the  Emperor  I  became  very 
familiar  with  in  later  years,  calling  the  children,  sig- 
naling to  me.  It  had  a  curious,  appealing,  resistless 
quality,  peculiar  to  himself. 

Perhaps  it  was  a  common  love  of  music  which  first 
drew  the  Empress  and  our  family  into  a  bond  of 
friendship.  All  of  us  children  received  a  thorough 
musical  education.  From  childhood  we  were  taken 
regularly  to  concerts  and  the  opera,  and  our  home, 
especially  on  Wednesday  evenings,  was  a  rendezvous 
for  all  the  musicians  and  composers  of  the  capital. 
The  great  Tschaikovsky  was  a  friend  of  my  father, 
and  I  remember  many  others  of  note  who  were  fre- 
quent guests  at  tea  or  dinner. 

Apart  from  music  we  received  an  education  rather 
more  practical  than  was  the  average  at  that  time.  In 
the  Russia  of  my  childhood  a  girl  of  good  family  was 
supposed  to  acquire  a  few  pretty  accomplishments  and 
nothing  much  besides.  Accomplishments  I  and  my 
sister  were  given,  but  besides  music  and  painting,  for 
which  my  sister  had  considerable  talent,  we  were  well 
grounded  in  academic  studies,  and  we  finished  by  tak- 
ing examinations  leading  to  teachers'  diplomas.  I  may 
say  also  that  even  in  our  drawing-room  accomplish- 
ments we  were  obliged  to  be  thorough,  and  when  my 
father  ventured  to  show  some  of  our  work  to  the 
Empress  she  expressed  warm  approval.  "Most  Rus- 
sian girls,"  she  said,  "seem  to  have  nothing  in  their 
heads  but  officers." 

The  Empress,  coming  from  a  small  German  Court 
where  everyone  at  least  tried  to  occupy  themselves 


usefully,  found  the  idle  and  listless  atmosphere  of 
Russia  little  to  her  taste.  In  her  first  enthusiasm  of 
power  she  thought  to  change  things  a  little  for  the 
better.  One  of  her  early  projects  was  a  society  of 
handwork  composed  of  ladies  of  the  Court  and  society 
circles,  each  one  of  whom  should  make  with  her  own 
hands  three  garments  a  year  to  be  given  to  the  poor. 
The  society,  I  am  sorry  to  say,  did  not  long  flourish. 
The  idea  was  too  foreign  to  the  soil.  Nevertheless 
the  Empress  persisted  in  creating  throughout  Russia 
industrial  centers,  maisons  de  travail,  where  the  un- 
employed, both  men  and  women,  and  especially  un- 
fortunate women  who,  through  errors  of  conduct,  lost 
their  positions,  could  find  work. 

Life  at  Court  was  by  no  means  serious.  In  fact 
it  was  at  that  time  very  gay.  At  seventeen  I  was  pre- 
sented, first  to  the  Empress  Dowager  who  lived  in  a 
palace  in  Peterhof  known  as  the  Cottage.  Extremely 
shy  at  first,  I  soon  accustomed  myself  to  the  many 
brilliant  Court  functions  to  which  my  mother  chap- 
eroned my  sister  and  myself.  We  danced  that  first 
winter,  I  remember,  at  no  less  than  twenty-two  balls 
besides  attending  many  receptions,  teas,  and  dinners. 
Perhaps  it  was  partly  the  fatigue  of  all  this  social  dis- 
sipation which  made  so  serious  the  illness  with  which 
in  the  ensuing  summer  I  was  stricken.  Typhus,  that 
scourge  of  Russia,  struck  down  at  the  same  time  my 
brother  Serge  and  myself.  My  brother's  illness  ran 
a  normal  course  and  he  made  a  rapid  recovery,  but 
for  three  months  I  lay  at  death's  door.  After  the 
fever  succeeded  many  complications,  inflammation  of 
the  lungs  and  kidneys,  and  an  affection  of  the  brain 


whereby  I  lost  both  speech  and  hearing.  In  the  midst 
of  my  suffering  I  had  a  vivid  dream  in  which  the  saintly 
Father  John  of  Kronstadt  appeared  to  me  and  told 
me  to  have  courage  and  that  all  would  finally  be  well. 

This  Father  John  of  Kronstadt,  whom  all  true 
Russians  reverence  as  a  saint,  I  remembered  as  having 
thrice  been  at  our  house  in  my  early  childhood.  The 
gentle  majesty  of  his  presence,  the  beauty  of  his  benign 
countenance  had  so  deeply  impressed  me  that  now,  in 
my  desperate  illness,  it  seemed  to  me  that  he,  more 
than  the  skilled  physicians  and  the  devoted  sisters  who 
attended  me,  had  power  of  help  and  healing.  In  some 
way  I  managed  to  convey  to  my  parents  that  I  wanted 
Father  John,  and  they  immediately  telegraphed  beg- 
ging him  to  come.  It  was  some  days  before  the  mes- 
sage reached  him,  as  he  was  away  from  home  on  a 
mission,  but  as  soon  as  he  received  word  of  our  need 
he  hastened  to  Peterhof.  As  in  a  vision  I  sensed 
his  coming  long  before  he  reached  the  house,  and 
when  he  came  I  greeted  him  without  astonishment 
with  a  feeble  movement  of  my  hand.  Father  John 
knelt  down  beside  my  bed,  praying  quietly,  a  corner 
of  his  long  stole  laid  over  my  burning  head.  At 
length  he  rose,  took  a  glass  of  holy  water,  and  to  the 
consternation  of  the  nurses  sprinkled  it  freely  over  me 
and  bade  me  sleep.  Almost  instantly  I  fell  into  a  deep 
sleep,  and  when  I  awoke  next  day  I  was  so  much  better 
that  all  could  see  that  I  was  on  the  road  to  recovery. 

In  September  of  that  year  I  went  with  my  mother 
first  to  Baden  and  afterwards  to  Naples.  We  lived  in 
the  same  hotel  with  the  Grand  Duke  and  Grand 
Duchess  Serge  who  were  very  much  amused  to  see  me 


in  a  wig,  my  long  illness  having  rendered  me  tempo- 
rarily almost  bald.  After  a  quiet  but  happy  season  in 
southern  Italy  I  returned  to  Russia  quite  restored  to 
health.  The  winter  of  1903  I  remember  as  a  round 
of  gaieties  and  dissipations.  In  January  of  that  year 
I  received  from  the  Empress  the  diamond-studded 
chiffre  of  maid  of  honor,  which  meant  that,  following 
my  marriage,  I  would  have  permanent  entry  to  all 
Court  functions.  Not  immediately  but  very  soon 
afterwards  I  was  called  to  duty  to  the  person  of  the 
Empress,  and  there  began  then  that  close  and  intimate 
friendship  which  I  know  lasted  with  her  always  and 
which  will  remain  with  me  as  long  as  God  permits 
me  to  live. 

I  would  that  I  could  paint  a  picture  of  the  Empress 
Alexandra  Feodorovna  as  I  knew  her  before  the  first 
shadow  of  doom  and  disaster  fell  upon  unhappy  Rus- 
sia. No  photograph  ever  did  her  justice  because  it 
could  reproduce  neither  her  lovely  color  nor  her  grace- 
ful movements.  Tall  she  was,  and  delicately,  beauti- 
fully shaped,  with  exquisitely  white  neck  and  shoulders. 
Her  abundant  hair,  red  gold,  was  so  long  that  she 
could  easily  sit  upon  it  when  it  was  unbound.  Her 
complexion  was  clear  and  as  rosy  as  a  little  child's. 
The  Empress  had  large  eyes,  deep  gray  and  very  lus- 
trous. It  was  only  in  later  life  that  sorrow  and 
anxiety  gave  her  eyes  the  melancholy  with  which  they 
are  usually  associated.  In  youth  they  wore  an  ex- 
pression of  constant  merriment  which  explained  her 
family  nickname  of  "Sunny,"  a  name  by  the  way 
nearly  always  used  by  the  Emperor.  I  began  almost 
from  the  first  day  of  our  association  to  love  and  ad- 


mire  her,  as  I  have  loved  her  ever  since  and  always 

The  winter  of  1903  was  very  brilliant,  the  season 
culminating  in  a  famous  ball  in  costumes  of  Tsar 
Alexis  Michailovitch,  who  reigned  in  the  seventeenth 
century.  The  ball  was  given  first  in  the  Hermitage, 
the  great  art  gallery  adjoining  the  Winter  Palace,  but 
so  immense  was  its  success  that  it  had  to  be  twice  re- 
peated, once  in  the  Salle  de  Concert  of  the  palace  and 
again  in  the  large  ballroom  of  the  Schermetieff 
Palace.  My  sister  and  I  were  two  of  twenty  young  girls 
selected  to  dance  with  twenty  youthful  cavaliers  in  an 
ancient  Russian  dance  which  required  almost  as  much 
rehearsal  as  a  ballet.  The  rehearsals  were  quite  im- 
portant society  events,  all  the  mothers  attending,  and 
the  Empress  often  looking  on  as  interested  as  any  of  us. 

That  summer  I  again  fell  ill  in  our  villa  in  Peterhof, 
and  I  remember  particularly  that  this  was  the  first 
time  the  Empress  ever  visited  our  house.  She  drove 
in  a  low  pony  chaise,  coming  up  to  my  sickroom  all 
in  white  with  a  big  white  hat  and  in  the  best  of  spirits. 
Needless  to  say,  her  unexpected  visit  did  me  a  world 
of  good,  as  did  her  second  visit  at  our  home  in  the 
country  when  she  left  me  a  gift  of  holy  water  from 
Saroff,  a  place  greatly  venerated  by  Russians.  That 
winter  with  its  artless  pleasures,  and  the  pleasant  sum- 
mer which  followed,  marked  the  end  of  an  era  in 
Russia.  Immediately  afterwards  came  the  catastro- 
phe of  the  Japanese  War,  so  needlessly  entered  into. 
This  war  was  the  beginning  of  a  long  line  of  disasters 
which  ended  in  the  supreme  disaster  of  19 17.  I  must 
confess  that  at  the  time  the  Japanese  War  made  no 

PETERHOF,   1909. 


Director  of  the  Tsar's  Private  Chancellerie,  Father  of  Anna  Viroubova. 


very  deep  impression  on  young  girls  who,  like  myself, 
faced  life  lightly  like  happy  children.  We  resigned 
ourselves  to  an  almost  complete  cessation  of  balls  and 
parties,  and  we  put  aside  our  pretty  gowns  for  the 
sober  dress  of  working  sisters.  The  great  salons  of 
the  Winter  Palace  were  turned  into  workrooms  and 
there  every  day  society  flocked  to  sew  and  knit  for  our 
soldiers  and  sailors  fighting  such  incredible  distances 
away,  as  well  as  for  the  wounded  in  hospitals  at  home 
and  abroad.  My  mother,  who  was  one  of  the  heads  of 
committees  giving  out  work  to  be  done  at  home,  was 
constantly  busy,  and  we  obediently  followed  her 

Every  day  the  Empress  came  to  inspect  the  work, 
often  sitting  down  at  a  table  and  sewing  diligently 
with  the  others.  This  was  shortly  before  the  birth  of 
the  Tsarevitch  and  I  have  a  clear  picture  in  my  mind 
of  the  Empress  looking  more  than  ever  fine  and  deli- 
cate, her  tall  figure  clad  in  a  loose  robe  of  dark  vel- 
vet trimmed  in  fur.  Behind  her  chair,  bringing  into 
splendid  relief  her  bright  gold  hair,  stood  a  huge 
negro  servant,  gorgeous  in  scarlet  trousers,  gold-em- 
broidered jacket,  and  white  turban.  This  negro,  Jim, 
was  one  of  four  Abyssinians  who  stood  guard  before* 
the  doors  of  the  private  apartments.  They  were  not 
soldiers  and  they  had  no  functions  except  to  open  and 
close  the  doors,  and  to  signify  by  a  sudden,  noiseless 
entrance  into  a  state  apartment  that  one  of  their 
Majesties  was  about  to  appear.  The  Abyssinians  were 
in  fact  simply  one  of  the  left-overs  from  the  days  of 
Catherine  the  Great,  in  whose  times  dwarfs  and 
negroes  and  other  exotics  figured  as  a  part  of  Court 


ceremonials.  They  remained  not  because  Nicholas  II 
or  the  Empress  wanted  them,  but  because,  as  I  shall 
later  explain,  it  was  practically  impossible  to  change 
any  detail  of  Russian  Court  life. 

The  following  summer  the  heir  was  born  amid  the 
wildest  rejoicings  all  over  the  Empire.  I  remember 
the  Empress  telling  me  with  what  extraordinary  ease 
the  child  was  brought  into  the  world.  Scarcely  half 
an  hour  after  the  Empress  had  left  her  boudoir  for 
her  bedroom  the  baby  was  born  and  it  was  known 
that,  after  many  prayers,  there  was  an  heir  to  the 
throne  of  the  Romanoffs.  The  Emperor,  in  spite  of 
the  desperate  sorrow  brought  upon  him  by  a  disastrous 
war,  was  quite  mad  with  joy.  His  happiness  and  the 
mother's,  however,  was  of  short  duration,  for  almost 
at  once  they  learned  that  the  poor  child  was  afflicted 
with  a  dread  disease,  rather  rare  except  in  royal 
families  where  it  is  only  too  common.  The  victims 
of  this  malady  are  known  in  medicine  as  hcemophiliacs, 
or  bleeders.  Frequently  they  die  soon  after  birth, 
and  those  who  survive  are  subject  to  frightful  suffer- 
ing, if  not  to  sudden  death,  from  slight  injuries  to 
blood  vessels,  internal  as  well  as  external.  The  whole 
short  life  of  the  Tsarevitch,  the  loveliest  and  most 
amiable  child  imaginable,  was  a  succession  of  agon- 
izing illnesses  due  to  this  congenital  affliction.  The 
sufferings  of  the  child  were  more  than  equaled  by  those 
of  his  parents,  especially  of  his  mother,  who  hardly 
knew  a  day  of  real  happiness  after  she  realized  her 
boy's  fate.  Her  health  and  spirits  began  to  decline, 
and  she  developed  a  chronic  heart  trouble.  Although 
the  boy's  affliction  was  in  no  conceivable  way  her  fault, 


she  dwelt  morbidly  on  the  fact  that  the  disease  is 
transmitted  through  the  mother  and  that  it  was  com- 
mon in  her  family.  One  of  her  younger  brothers  suf- 
fered from  it,  also  her  uncle  Leopold,  Queen  Victoria's 
youngest  son,  while  all  three  sons  of  her  sister,  Prin- 
cess Henry  of  Prussia,  were  similarly  afflicted.  One 
of  these  boys  died  young  and  the  other  two  were  life- 
long invalids. 

Everything  possible,  everything  known  to  medical 
science,  was  done  for  the  child  Alexei.  The  Empress 
nursed  him  herself,  as  indeed,  with  the  assistance  of 
professional  women,  she  had  nursed  all  her  children. 
Three  trained  Russian  nurses  were  in  attendance, 
with  the  Empress  always  superintending.  She 
bathed  the  babe  herself,  and  was  with  him  so  much 
that  the  Court,  ever  censorious  of  her,  complained  that 
she  was  more  of  a  nurse  than  an  Empress.  The 
Court,  of  course,  did  not  immediately  understand  the 
serious  condition  of  the  infant  heir.  No  parents,  be 
their  estate  high  or  low,  are  ready  all  at  once  to  reveal 
a  misfortune  such  as  that  one.  It  is  always  human 
to  hope  that  things  are  not  as  desperate  as  they  seem, 
and  that  in  time  some  remedy  for  the  illness  will  be 
found.  The  Emperor  and  Empress  guarded  their 
secret  from  all  except  relatives  and  most  intimate 
friends,  closing  their  eyes  and  their  ears  to  the  growing 
unpopularity  of  the  Empress.  She  was  ill  and  she 
was  suffering,  but  to  the  Court  she  appeared  merely 
cold,  haughty,  and  indifferent.  From  this  false  im- 
pression she  never  fully  recovered  even  after  the  ex- 
planation of  her  suddenly  acquired  silence  and  melan- 
choly became  generally  known. 


IN  one  of  the  earliest  days  of  1905  my  mother  re- 
ceived a  telegram  from  Princess  Galatzine,  first 
lady  in  waiting,  saying  that  my  immediate  presence  at 
Court  was  required.  The  Princess  Orbeliani,  also  a 
lady  in  waiting,  was  seriously  ill,  and  some  one  was 
needed  to  replace  her  in  attendance  on  Her  Majesty. 
I  left  at  once  for  Tsarskoe  Selo,  then,  as  always,  the 
favorite  home  of  the  Imperial  Family,  and  on  my  ar- 
rival was  conducted  to  the  apartments  in  the  palace 
known  as  the  Lyceum.  The  rooms  were  small  and 
dark  with  windows  looking  out  on  a  little  church.  It 
was  the  first  time  I  had  ever  been  away  from  home, 
and  in  any  surroundings  I  should  have  been  homesick 
and  forlorn,  but  in  these  unfriendly  surroundings  my 
spirits  were  with  some  excuse  depressed. 

The  time  of  my  coming  to  Court  was  unpropitious, 
the  Imperial  Family  and  all  connections  being  in  deep 
mourning  for  the  Grand  Duke  Serge  who,  on  the  morn- 
ing of  February  4,  had  been  barbarously  assassinated. 
The  Grand  Duke  Serge,  uncle  of  Nicholas  II,  had  been 
Governor  of  Moscow.  He  was  undoubtedly  a  reac- 
tionary, and  his  rule  was  said  to  have  been  harsh. 
Certain  it  is  that  his  administrative  methods  earned 
him  the  intense  enmity  of  the  Social  Revolutionaries 
and  he  had  long  lived  in  danger  of  assassination.     His 

wife,  the  Grand  Duchess  Elizabeth,  was  devoted  to 



him  In  spite  of  his  somewhat  difficult  temperament, 
and  she  never  willingly  allowed  him  to  leave  the  palace 
of  the  Kremlin  unaccompanied.  Usually  she  went 
with  him  herself,  but  on  this  fatal  February  morning 
he,  being  in  a  dark  mood,  left  the  palace  without  her 
knowledge.  Suddenly  a  great  explosion  shook  all 
the  windows,  and  the  poor  Grand  Duchess,  spring- 
ing from  her  chair,  cried  out  in  an  agonized  voice: 
"It  is  Serge!" 

Rushing  out  Into  the  court  she  saw  a  horrible  sight, 
the  body  of  her  husband  scattered  in  a  hundred  bleed- 
ing fragments  over  the  snow.  The  bomb  had  liter- 
ally torn  the  unfortunate  man  to  pieces,  so  that  in  the 
dismembered  mass  of  flesh  and  blood  there  was  noth- 
ing recognizable  of  what  had  been,  only  a  few  minutes 
before,  a  strong  and  dominating  man. 

The  terrorist  who  threw  the  bomb  was  promptly 
arrested,  tried,  and  sentenced  to  death.  It  was  en- 
tirely characteristic  of  the  Grand  Duchess  Elizabeth 
that  In  the  midst  of  her  grief  and  horror  she  still  found 
room  in  her  heart  to  pity  the  misguided  wretch  sitting 
in  his  cell  waiting  his  miserable  end.  The  Grand 
Duchess  insisted  on  visiting  the  man  In  prison,  assur- 
ing him  of  her  forgiveness,  and  praying  for  him  on 
the  stone  floor  of  his  cell.  Whether  or  not  he  joined 
In  her  prayers  I  do  not  know.  The  Social  Revolution- 
aries prided  themselves  on  being  irreligious  and  very 
many  of  them  were  Jews. 

The  Court  weighed  down  by  this  terrible  tragedy 
was  a  sad  enough  place  for  a  homesick  girl  like  my- 
self. Like  all  the  other  ladies  in  waiting  I  wore  a 
black  dress  with  a  long  veil,  and  when  at  length  I  was 


received  by  the  Empress  I  found  her,  too,  dressed  In 
deep  mourning.  After  this  first  formal  reception  I  saw 
very  little  of  the  Empress,  all  her  time  being  devoted 
to  her  sister,  the  Grand  Duchess  Elizabeth,  and  to 
Princess  Henry  of  Prussia,  who  was  visiting  her.  The 
Empress  Dowager  also  came,  so  that  the  suite  was 
thrown  together  in  what  for  me  was  not  altogether  a 
pleasant  association.  My  special  duty,  as  I  discov- 
ered, was  attendance  on  the  old  Princess  Orbeliani, 
whose  illness,  I  am  bound  to  admit,  did  not  sweeten 
her  disposition.  But  as  she  was  dying  of  that  terribly 
trying  malady,  creeping  paralysis,  I  am  ashamed,  even 
now,  to  criticize  her.  For  the  other  dames  d'honneur, 
however,  I  have  no  hesitation  to  say  that  they  were 
not  on  their  best  behavior.  Being  entirely  a  stranger 
at  Court  and  unacquainted  with  insincerities  which 
afterwards  I  came  to  know  only  too  well,  I  suffered 
keenly  from  the  cutting  remarks  of  my  colleagues. 
My  French,  which  I  own  I  spoke  rather  badly,  came  in 
for  a  great  deal  of  ridicule.  On  the  whole  it  was 
rather  an  unhappy  period  in  my  young  life. 

The  one  bright  spot  that  I  remember  was  a  drive 
with  the  Empress  to  which  I  was  summoned  by  tele- 
phone. It  was  a  warm  day  in  early  spring  and  the 
snow  around  the  tree  roots  along  the  road  was  thaw- 
ing in  the  pale  sunlight.  We  drove  in  an  open  car- 
riage, a  big  Cossack,  picturesquely  uniformed,  riding 
behind.  It  was  my  first  public  appearance  with  Roy- 
alty and  I  was  a  little  confused  as  to  how  to  behave  in 
the  presence  of  the  low-bowing  crowds  that  lined  the 
way.  The  Empress,  however,  soon  put  me  at  my  ease, 
chatting  of  simple  things,  talking  of  her  children,  espe- 


cially  of  the  Infant  heir,  at  that  time  about  eight 
months  old.  Our  drive  was  not  very  long  because  the 
Empress  had  to  hurry  back  to  superintend  a  dancing 
lesson  of  the  young  Grand  Duchesses.  I  remember 
when  I  returned  to  the  apartment  of  the  invalid  Prin- 
cess Orbeliani,  she  commented  rather  maliciously  on 
the  fact  that  I  was  not  invited  to  attend  the  dancing 
lesson.  But  by  that  time,  alas !  I  knew  that  had  I  been 
invited  her  comment  might  have  been  more  malicious 
still.  Still  I  must  not  speak  badly  of  the  poor  Prin- 
cess, for  in  spite  of  her  illness  and  approaching  death 
she  was  very  brave  and  kinder  than  most  people  in 
her  circumstances  would  have  been. 

Lent  came  on  and  In  the  palace  church  there  were 
held  every  Wednesday  and  Friday  special  services  for 
the  Imperial  Family.  I  asked  and  was  given  permis- 
sion to  assist  In  these  services  and  I  found  great  solace 
In  them.  At  that  time  also  I  became  warmly  attached 
to  a  maid  of  honor  of  the  Grand  Duchess  Serge,  Prin- 
cess Scnkovsky,  a  woman  of  rare  character.  She  had 
recently  lost  her  mother  and  was  In  a  sad  mood.  Al- 
most everyone,  In  fact,  was  sad  at  this  time.  The 
Grand  Duchess  Serge,  although  she  bore  her  tragedy 
with  dignity  and  courage,  went  about  with  a  white  face 
and  eyes  in  which  horror  still  lingered.  On  religious 
holidays  she  laid  aside  her  black  robes  and  appeared 
all  in  white  like  a  madonna. 

The   Princess  Irene  of  Prussia    (Princess  Henry) 
was  still  in  mourning  for  her  little  son  who  had  died 
of  the  same  incurable  disease  which  afflicted  the  Tsare- 
vitch.     She  spoke  to  me  with  emotion  of  the  child,  to 
whom  she  had  been  deeply  attached. 


My  duty  came  to  an  end  in  Holy  Week,  and  I  went 
to  the  private  apartments  to  make  my  farewell  of  the 
Empress,  She  received  me  in  the  nursery,  the  baby 
Tsarevitch  in  her  arms,  and  I  cannot  forget  how  beau- 
tiful the  child  appeared  or  how  healthy  and  normal. 
He  had  a  wealth  of  golden  hair,  large  blue  eyes,  and 
an  expression  of  intelligence  rare  in  so  young  a  child. 
The  Empress  was  kindness  itself.  At  parting  she 
kissed  me,  and  gave  me  as  a  souvenir  of  my  first  serv- 
ice a  locket  set  in  diamonds.  Yet  for  all  her  gracious 
kindness  how  gladly  I  left  that  night  for  my  beloved 

The  following  summer,  which  as  usual  we  spent  at 
Peterhof,  I  saw  much  more  of  the  Empress  than  in 
my  month  of  attendance  on  her.  With  my  mother 
and  sister  I  again  worked  daily  in  the  workrooms 
established  for  the  wounded  in  the  Japanese  War,  and 
there  almost  daily  the  Empress  came  to  sew  with  the 
other  women.  Once  every  week  she  visited  the  hos- 
pitals at  Tsarskoe  Selo,  and  twice  that  summer,  at  her 
request,  I  accompanied  her  to  her  foundation  hospital 
for  training  nurses.  The  Empress  in  the  military  hos- 
pitals was  at  her  very  best.  Passing  from  bedside  to 
bedside,  speaking  as  tenderly  as  a  mother  to  the  sick 
and  suffering  men,  sitting  down  to  a  game  of  checkers 
with  convalescent  officers,  it  was  difficult  to  imagine 
how  anyone  could  ever  call  her  cold  or  shy.  She 
was  altogether  charming  and  as  she  passed  all  eyes 
followed  her  with  love  and  gratitude.  To  me  she 
was  everything  that  was  good  and  kind,  and  into  my 
heart  there  was  born  a  great  emotion  of  love  and 
loyalty  that  made  me  determine  that  I  would  devote 


my  whole  life  to  the  service  of  my  Sovereigns.  Soon 
after  I  was  to  know  that  they,  too,  desired  that  I 
should  be  intimately  associated  with  their  household. 
The  first  intimation  came  in  the  form  of  an  invitation 
to  spend  two  weeks  on  the  Royal  yacht  which  was 
about  to  leave  for  a  cruise  in  Finnish  waters.  We  left 
on  the  small  yacht  Alexandria,  and  at  Kronstadt  trans- 
ferred to  the  larger  yacht  Polar  Star.  We  were  a 
fairly  large  company  on  board,  among  others  Prince 
Obolensky,  Naval  Minister,  Admiral  Birileff,  Count 
Tolstoy,  Admiral  Chagin  of  the  Emperor's  staff,  and 
Mademoiselle  Schneider  and  myself  in  attendance  on 
Her  Majesty.  A  little  to  my  embarrassment  I  was 
placed  at  table  next  the  Emperor  with  whom  I  was 
not  at  all  acquainted.  It  is  true  that  I  had  often  seen 
him  at  Tsarskoe  and  at  Peterhof  riding,  or  walking 
with  his  kennel  of  English  collies,  eleven  magnificent 
animals  in  which  he  took  great  pride.  But  this  time, 
on  the  Polar  Star,  was  the  first  time  I  had  been  brought 
into  personal  contact  with  him.  With  the  Empress 
I  felt  more  at  home,  and  this  he  knew,  for  he  began 
almost  at  once  to  speak  to  me  of  her  and  of  her  great 
help  to  him  in  the  pain  and  anxiety  of  the  Japanese 
War.  "Without  her,"  he  said  with  feeling,  "I  could 
never  have  endured  the  strain." 

The  war  was  again  recalled  by  a  visit  on  board  the 
yacht  from  Count  Witte,  fresh  from  the  Portsmouth 
Conference.  As  a  reward  for  his  work  done  there  he 
received  for  the  first  time  his  title  by  which  the  world 
now  knows  him.  During  dinner  he  related  with  great 
gusto  all  his  experiences  in  the  United  States,  his  tri- 
umph over  the  Japanese  delegates,  his  popularity  with 


the  Americans,  appearing  very  happy  and  satisfied 
with  himself.  The  Emperor  complimented  him 
warmly,  but  Count  Witte  for  all  his  talents  was  never 
a  favorite  with  the  Sovereigns. 

Life  on  board  the  Polar  Star  was  very  informal, 
very  lazy  and  agreeable.  We  sailed  through  the  quiet 
waters  of  the  Baltic,  every  day  going  ashore  for 
walks,  the  Emperor  and  his  staff  sometimes  shooting 
a  little,  but  more  often  spending  the  time  climbing 
rocks,  hunting  mushrooms  and  berries  in  the  woods 
and  meadows,  and  playing  with  the  children  to  whom 
this  country  holiday  was  heavenly  pleasure.  Living 
long  hours  in  the  open  air  and  indulging  in  so  much 
vigorous  exercise  made  me  desperately  sleepy  so  that 
I  found  myself  drowsy  at  dinner  and  almost  dead  for 
sleep  by  the  time  the  eleven  o'clock  tea  hour  came 
round.  Everyone  found  my  drowsiness  a  source  of 
never-ending  amusement,  and  once,  after  I  had  actu- 
ally fallen  asleep  at  tea  and  had  nearly  pitched  out  of 
my  chair,  the  Emperor  presented  me  with  a  silver 
matchbox  with  which  he  said  I  might  prop  my  eyes 
open,  until  bedtime. 

There  was,  of  course,  a  piano  in  the  salon  of  the 
yacht,  and  the  Empress  and  I  found  a  new  bond  in  our 
common  love  of  music.  We  spent  hours  playing  four- 
hand  pieces,  all  our  dearly  loved  classics.  Bach,  Bee- 
thoven, Tschaikovsky,  and  others.  In  our  quiet  hours 
with  our  music,  and  especially  before  going  to  bed,  the 
Empress  and  I  had  many  intimate  conversations.  As 
if  to  relieve  a  heart  too  much  constrained  to  silence 
and  solitude  the  Empress  confided  in  me  freely  the 
difficulties  of  her  life.    From  the  first  day  of  her  com- 


ing  to  the  Russian  Court  she  felt  herself  disliked, 
and  this  was  all  the  more  a  grief  and  mortification 
to  her  because  her  marriage  with  the  Emperor  was 
a  true  love  match,  and  she  ardently  desired  that  their 
union  should  increase  in  the  Russian  people  the  loy- 
alty and  devotion  they  undoubtedly  felt  in  those  days 
for  the  House  of  Romanoff. 

All  the  stories  of  the  reluctance  of  Alexandra 
Feodorovna  to  marry  Nicholas  II  are  absurdly  un- 
true. As  a  small  child  she  had  been  taken  to  Petro- 
grad  to  the  marriage  of  her  older  sister  Elizabeth  and 
the  Grand  Duke  Serge.  With  the  Grand  Duchess 
Xenia,  sister  of  Nicholas,  she  formed  a  warm  friend- 
ship, and  with  the  young  heir  himself  she  was  on  the 
best  of  terms.  One  day  he  presented  her  with  a  pretty 
little  brooch  which  from  very  shyness  she  accepted  but 
afterwards  repenting,  she  returned,  squeezing  the  gift 
into  his  hand  in  the  course  of  a  children's  party.  The 
young  Tsarevitch,  much  offended,  or  rather  much 
hurt,  passed  the  brooch  on  to  his  sister  Xenia  who, 
not  knowing  its  history,  cheerfully  accepted  it. 

The  attraction  so  early  established  increased  with 
years  and  ripened  into  romantic  love,  yet  Alexandra 
Feodorovna  hesitated  to  accept  Nicholas  as  her  be- 
trothed because  of  the  change  of  religion  which  was 
necessary.  Her  home  life  at  this  time  was  not  par- 
ticularly happy.  Her  mother.  Princess  Alice  of  Eng- 
land, had  died  in  her  childhood,  and  now  her  father, 
the  reigning  Grand  Duke  of  Hesse,  died  suddenly  of 
a  stroke  of  paralysis.  Her  brother  Ernest,  who  in- 
herited the  title  and  who  was  of  course  her  guardian, 
had  made  an  unhappy  marriage  with  Princess  Victoria 


of  Coburg,  and  the  home  life  of  the  family  was  not 
particularly  pleasant.  Later  this  marriage  was  dis- 
solved, and  in  1908  Grand  Duke  Ernest  was  happily 
united  to  Princess  Eleanor  of  Sohmslich.  It  was  at  his 
first  marriage  that  Alexandra  Feodorovna  again  met 
the  Tsarevitch,  and  from  this  time  on  he  became  a 
suitor.  After  their  formal  betrothal  the  young  pair 
spent  some  happy  weeks  with  Queen  Victoria  in  Eng- 
land, where  the  match  met  with  the  approval  of  all 
the  English  relatives. 

Emperor  Alexander  III  was  at  this  time  lying  mor- 
tally ill  in  the  Summer  Palace  Livadia,  in  the  Crimea, 
and  when  his  condition  became  hopeless  Alexandra 
Feodorovna,  as  the  future  Tsarina,  was  summoned  to 
join  the  Imperial  Family  at  his  bedside.  The  dying 
Tsar  rose  from  his  sickbed  and,  dressed  in  full  uni- 
form, gave  her  the  greeting  due  her  dignity  as  a  royal 
bride.  From  the  rest  of  the  family,  unfortunately,  she 
had  a  less  cordial  reception.  The  Empress  and  her 
ladies  in  waiting,  Princess  Oblensky  and  Countess 
Voronzoff,  were  distant  and  formal,  and  the  rest  of 
the  Court,  as  might  be  expected,  followed  their  ex- 
ample. The  whole  atmosphere  of  the  palace  seemed 
to  the  young  girl  unwholesome  and  unsympathetic. 
Upstairs  lay  the  dying  Emperor,  while  below  the  suite 
lunched  and  dined  and  followed  ordinary  pursuits  very 
much  as  though  nothing  untoward  was  happening.  To 
Alexandra  Feodorovna,  accustomed  to  the  intimacy 
of  a  small  and  much  less  formal  Court,  this  behavior 
seemed  unfeeling  and  unkind. 

The  end  came  suddenly  one  day  when  the  Emperor, 
at  the  moment  almost  free  from  pain  or  weakness, 


was  sitting  in  his  armchair.  The  Empress  Marie, 
quite  overcome,  fainted  in  the  arms  of  Alexandra,  who 
in  that  hour  of  extreme  sorrow,  prayed  sincerely  that 
she  and  her  future  mother-in-law  might  be  drawn  to- 
gether in  bonds  of  affection.  But  this,  alas!  was  never 
to  be. 

The  days  that  followed  were  gray  and  desolate 
for  the  young  bride.  The  funeral  procession  of  Alex- 
ander III  wound  slowly  and  solemnly  from  the  Crimea 
to  Petrograd,  a  journey  of  many  days.  The  young 
Emperor,  absorbed  in  his  new  duties,  had  little  time 
to  devote  to  the  lonely,  homesick  girl,  and  indeed  they 
hardly  met  before  the  morning  of  their  marriage,  a 
few  days  after  the  state  funeral  of  the  dead  Emperor. 
The  marriage  took  place  in  the  church  of  the  Winter 
Palace,  and  those  who  witnessed  it  have  said  that  the 
bride,  in  her  rich  satin  robes,  looked  very  pale  and 
unhappy.  As  she  herself  told  me,  the  wedding  seemed 
only  a  continuation  of  the  long  funeral  ceremonies  she 
had  so  lately  attended. 

Thus  came  Alexandra  Feodorovna  to  Russia,  nor 
did  the  weeks  that  followed  her  arrival  bring  her  any 
happiness.  To  her  friend  Countess  Rantsau,  lady  in 
waiting  to  Princess  Henry  of  Prussia,  she  wrote: 

I  feel  myself  completely  alone,  and  I  am  in  despair  that 
those  who  surround  my  husband  are  apparently  false  and  in- 
sincere. Here  nobody  seems  to  do  his  duty  for  duty's  sake, 
or  for  Russia,  but  only  for  his  own  selfish  interests  and  for 
his  own  advancement.  I  weep  and  I  worry  all  day  long  be- 
cause I  feel  that  my  husband  is  so  young  and  so  inexperienced. 
He  does  not  at  all  realize  how  they  are  all  profiting  at  the 
expense  of  the  State.     What  will  come  of  it  in  the  end?     I 


am  alone  most  of  the  time.     My  husband  is  all  day  occupied 
and  he  spends  his  evenings  with  his  mother. 

This  was  true,  as  Nicholas  was  very  inexperienced 
and  his  mother's  influence  and,  it  must  be  said,  her 
knowledge  of  afifairs  were  very  potent.  All  during  the 
first  year  the  Emperor  and  the  two  Empresses  lived 
together  in  the  Annitchkoff  Palace  on  the  Nevski 
Prospekt.  Alexandra  Feodorovna  comforted  herself 
with  the  thought  that  summer  would  bring  her  a  real 
honeymoon  in  the  Crimea.  Meanwhile  she  and  her 
young  husband  went  for  an  occasional  sledge  ride  to- 
gether, about  the  only  time  granted  them  for  confi- 
dences. Fortunately  the  first  baby  came  soon  and 
the  second  was  soon  expected.  That  autumn  in 
the  Crimea  the  Emperor  was  stricken  with  typhus  and 
his  wife  insisted  upon  nursing  him  herself,  hardly 
permitting  his  personal  servant  to  assist  her.  Christ- 
mas was  celebrated  in  his  sickroom,  his  recovery  hav- 
ing set  in  some  weeks  before.  During  these  days  of 
convalescence  they  went  on  solitary  walks  together,  and 
the  Emperor  began  to  read  with  his  wife,  to  confide  in 
her  with  affection.  When  they  went  back  to  Petro- 
grad  it  was  with  every  cloud  dispelled,  and  the  Em- 
press a  radiantly  happy  wife.  However,  the  somewhat 
cold  and  distant  manner  acquired  in  the  first  unhappy 
months  of  her  stay  in  Russia  remained  with  her.  Rus- 
sia seemed  to  her  an  unfriendly  land,  and  she  was 
never  able  to  present  to  it  her  really  sunny  and  amiable 

Not  all  of  these  confidences  did  the  Empress  im- 
part to  me  on  that  first  cruise   I  was  privileged   to 


share  with  her  on  the  Polar  Star.  Little  by  little,  then 
and  later,  I  learned  the  story  of  her  unhappy  youth. 
But  what  she  told  me  that  summer  seemed  to  relieve 
her  mind,  and  she  was  more  cheerful  at  the  ending  of 
the  cruise  than  at  the  beginning.  The  commander 
of  the  yacht  was  good  enough  to  tell  me  that  I  had 
broken  down  the  wall  of  ice  that  seemed  to  surround 
Her  Majesty,  and  that  now  she  could  be  more  easily 
approached.  At  the  close  of  the  voyage  the  Emperor 
said:  "You  are  to  go  with  us  every  year  after  this." 
But  dearest  of  all  in  my  memory  were  the  words 
of  the  Empress  at  parting:  "Dear  Annia,  God  has 
sent  me  a  friend  in  you."  And  so  I  remained  ever 
afterwards,  not  a  courtier,  not  long  a  lady  in  waiting, 
or  even  a  maid  of  honor,  or  in  any  capacity  an  official 
member  of  the  Court,  but  merely  a  devoted  and  an 
intimate  friend  of  Alexandra  Feodorovna,  Empress 
of  Russia. 


SHORTLY  after  our  return  to  Peterhof  I  went 
abroad  with  my  family,  stopping  first  at  Karls- 
ruhe, Baden,  to  visit  my  grandmother,  and  after- 
wards going  on  to  Paris.  The  Empress  had  given  me 
letters  to  her  brother,  the  Grand  Duke  of  Hesse,  and 
to  her  eldest  sister.  Princess  Victoria  of  Battenberg, 
both  of  whom  I  saw  before  leaving  Germany.  The 
seat  of  the  Grand  Duke  of  Hesse  was  Wolfsgarten 
near  Darmstadt,  a  beautiful  place  surrounded  by  ex- 
tensive gardens  laid  out  according  to  the  Grand  Duke's 
own  plans.  After  my  first  luncheon  at  the  palace,  dur- 
ing which  the  Grand  Duke  asked  me  many  questions 
about  the  Empress  and  her  life  at  the  Court  of  Rus- 
sia, I  walked  in  the  gardens  with  Mme.  Grancy,  hof- 
mistress  of  the  Court  of  Hesse,  a  gracious  and  charm- 
ing woman.  She  showed  me  the  toys  and  other 
pathetic  relics  of  the  little  Princess  Elizabeth,  only 
child  of  the  Grand  Duke's  first  marriage,  who  had  died 
in  Russia  after  an  acute  illness  of  a  few  hours.  I  also 
saw  the  white  marble  monument  which  the  people  of 
Hesse  had  raised  to  the  memory  of  the  child. 

To  the  second  luncheon  I  attended  at  the  old  Schloss 
came  the  Princess  Victoria  of  Battenberg  with  her 
lovely  daughter  Louise.  Etiquette  at  Hesse  was  of 
the  severest  order  and  I  observed  with  some  astonish- 
ment that  the  Princess  Victoria  curtsied  deeply  to  her 



sister-in-law,  Princess  Eleanor,  who  though  much 
younger  than  herself,  was  the  wife  of  the  reigning 
Grand  Duke.  The  old  Princess  was  a  very  clever 
woman  and  a  brilliant  conversationalist,  although,  to 
tell  the  truth,  as  she  spoke  very  rapidly  I  lost  a  great 
deal  of  what  she  said.  I  remember  her  questioning  me 
rather  closely  about  the  political  situation  in  Russia, 
and  although  I  was  not  very  enlightening  on  the  sub- 
ject she  was  good  enough  to  invite  me  and  my  sister 
to  lunch  with  her  at  Jugenheim  in  the  neighborhood 
of  Darmstadt.  Both  the  brother  and  the  sister  of  the 
Empress  entrusted  me  with  letters  to  her,  and  I  took 
them  with  me  to  Paris,  not  knowing  that  it  would  be  a 
long  time  before  I  should  be  able  to  deliver  them. 

For  in  the  midst  of  these  pleasant  days,  all  un- 
known to  me,  the  tide  of  trouble  and  unrest  was  rising 
high  in  Russia.  Beginning  with  a  railroad  strike  in 
Finland,  a  succession  of  labor  troubles  and  revolu- 
tionary demonstrations  extending  over  a  large  terri- 
tory brought  about  a  serious  crisis  which  for  a  time 
tied  up  most  of  the  railroads  and  prevented  our  re- 
turn to  Russia.  Of  the  cause  of  the  trouble,  and 
above  all,  of  its  ultimate  consequences,  I  must  say  that 
I  remained  in  complete  ignorance.  That  the  situation 
was  grave  of  course  I  realized,  and  my  heart  went  out 
to  the  Emperor  on  whom  the  responsibility  of  restor- 
ing order  largely  rested.  But  that  this  railroad  strike, 
for  that  is  all  it  seemed  to  amount  to,  was  the  begin- 
ning of  a  revolution  never  crossed  my  mind.  I  longed 
to  get  back  to  the  Empress  who  I  knew  would  be  shar- 
ing the  anxiety  of  the  Emperor,  but  as  a  matter  of 
fact  I  did  not  get  back  until  after  the  manifesto  of 


October,    1905,  had  been  signed  and  delivered  to  a 
startled  world. 

This  October  manifesto,  relinquishing  the  prin- 
ciple of  autocracy,  creating  for  the  first  time  a  Duma 
of  the  Empire,  was  the  result  of  many  councils,  some 
of  them  dramatic,  not  to  say  violent.  Count  Witte 
and  Grand  Duke  Nicholas  were  determined  that  the 
Emperor  should  sign  the  manifesto,  a  thing  which  he 
was  reluctant  to  do,  not  because  he  clung  to  his  privi- 
leges as  autocrat  of  all  the  Russias,  though  I  know 
that  this  is  the  motive  still  attributed  to  him  by  almost 
all  the  world.  The  Tsar  hesitated  to  create  a  house  of 
popular  representation  because  he  knew  how  ill  pre- 
pared the  Russian  people  were  for  self-government. 
He  knew  the  dense  ignorance  of  the  masses,  the 
fanatical  and  ill-grounded  socialism  of  the  intelli- 
gentsia, the  doctrinaire  theories  of  the  Constitutional 
Democrats.  I  can  say  with  positive  knowledge  that 
Nicholas  II  fervently  desired  the  progress  of  his  coun- 
try towards  a  high  civilization,  but  in  1905  he  felt  very 
serious  doubts  of  the  wisdom  of  radical  changes  in 
the  Russian  system  of  government.  At  last,  however, 
overborne  by  his  ministers,  he  signed  the  manifesto. 
It  is  said  that  the  Grand  Duke  Nicholas,  in  one  of  the 
last  councils,  lost  all  control  of  himself  and  drawing 
a  revolver  threatened  to  shoot  himself  on  the  spot  un- 
less the  manifesto  was  signed.  Whether  this  actually 
occurred  or  not  I  do  not  know,  but  from  what  was  told 
me  later  by  the  Empress  the  scenes  with  the  Grand 
Dukes  and  the  ministers  were  painful  in  the  extreme. 
When  in  one  of  the  final  councils  the  actual  form  of 
the  national  assembly  was  decided  upon  the  Emperor, 


with  a  hand  trembling  with  emotion,  signed  his  name 
to  the  fateful  document,  all  in  the  room  rose  and 
bowed  to  him  in  token  of  their  continued  fidelity. 

The  Empress  told  me  that  while  these  trying 
scenes  were  in  progress  she  sat  in  her  boudoir  alone 
save  for  her  near  relative  the  Grand  Duchess  Anas- 
tasie,  both  of  whom  felt  that  in  the  stormy  council 
chamber  a  child  was  being  dangerously  brought  into 
the  world.  Yet  all  the  prayers  of  the  Empress,  as  well 
as  those  of  the  Emperor,  were  that  the  new  policy  of 
popular  representation  would  bring  peace  to  troubled 

The  Duma  was  elected,  the  Socialists  alone  of  po- 
litical parties  repudiating  it  as  too  "bourgeois."  I 
was  present  with  all  the  Empress's  household,  in  the 
Throne  Room  of  the  Winter  Palace  on  the  opening 
day  of  the  Duma  when  the  Tsar  welcomed  the  depu- 
ties, and  I  remember  with  what  a  strong,  steady  voice, 
and  with  what  clear  enunciation,  the  opening  speech 
was  read.  Of  the  proceedings  of  the  first  Duma  I 
have  no  very  definite  recollections,  because  they  were 
marked  with  endless  and  very  wordy  discussions 
rather  than  with  any  attempt  at  constructive  action. 
Ever}'one  knows  that  the  Duma  was  dissolved  by  Im- 
perial order  after  a  short  life  of  two  months. 

Of  these  momentous  political  events  which  rocked 
Russia  and  were  featured  prominently  in  every  news- 
paper in  the  world  only  faint  echoes  reached  the  inner 
circle  of  the  Russian  Court.  This  may  sound  in- 
credible to  readers  in  republican  countries  where  the 
press  is  entirely  uncensored  and  where  public  opinion 
in  educated  in  politics.      In   the  Russia   of   1906  the 


reading  public  was  a  comparatively  small  one  and  the 
press  was  poorly  representative  of  the  really  intelli- 
gent people  of  the  Empire.  Few  men  and  fewer 
women  of  my  class  attached  any  particular  interest 
to  the  Duma,  the  best  we  hoped  for  it  being  that  in 
time  it  would  become  an  efficient  working  agency,  like 
the  parliaments  of  western  European  countries, 
adapted,  of  course,  to  Russian  needs.  The  first 
Duma  we  thought  of  only  as  a  rather  foolish  debat- 
ing society. 

The  Empr&ss  and  I  were  engaged,  at  that  time, 
with  singing  lessons,  our  teacher  being  Mme.  Tret- 
skaia  of  the  Conservatoire.  The  Empress  was  gifted 
with  a  lovely  contralto  voice,  which,  had  she  been 
born  in  other  circumstances,  might  easily  have  given 
her  a  professional  standing.  My  voice  being  a  high 
soprano  we  sang  many  duets.  Sometimes  my  sister 
joined  us  and  as  she  also  sang  well  we  formed  a  trio 
singing  many  of  the  lovely  arrangements  for  three 
voices  by  Schumann  and  others.  Occasionally  came 
also  an  English  friend  of  the  Empress,  a  talented 
violinist,  and  among  us  we  arranged  concerts  which 
gave  us  the  greatest  pleasure,  although  we  always  had 
to  hold  them  in  another  building  of  the  palace  called 
the  Farm  in  order  not  to  disturb  the  Emperor,  who, 
for  some  strange  reason,  did  not  like  to  hear  his  wife 

When  summer  came  and  while  the  Duma  was  talk- 
ing out  its  brief  existence  we  again  took  up  our  sea 
life,  this  time  on  board  the  large  royal  yacht  the 
Standert.  We  cruised  for  two  months,  the  Emperor 
frequently  going  ashore  for  tennis  and  other  amuse- 


ments,  but  occupied  two  days  of  each  week  with 
papers  and  state  documents  brought  to  him  by  mes- 
senger from  Petrograd.  The  Empress  and  I  were 
almost  constantly  together  walking  on  shore,  or  sit- 
ting on  deck  reading,  or  watching  the  joyful  play  of 
the  children,  each  of  whom  had  a  sailor  attendant  to 
keep  them  from  falling  overboard  or  otherwise  suf- 
fering mishap.  The  special  attendant  of  the  little 
Alexei  was  a  big,  good-natured  sailor  named  Dere- 
vanko,  a  man  seemingly  devoted  to  the  child.  It  was 
in  fact  Derevanko  who  taught  Alexei  to  walk,  and  who 
during  periods  of  great  weakness  following  severe  at- 
tacks of  his  malady  carried  the  boy  most  tenderly  in 
his  arms.  All  of  these  sailors  at  the  end  of  a  cruise 
received  watches  and  other  valuable  presents  from  the 
Emperor,  yet  most  of  them,  even  Derevanko,  when 
the  revolution  came,  turned  on  their  Sovereigns  with 
meanest  treachery. 

On  my  days  of  regular  service,  Wednesdays  and 
Fridays,  for  I  was  then  a  regularly  appointed  lady  in 
waiting,  I  dined  with  the  Imperial  Family,  and  at  that 
time  I  formed  a  close  friendship  with  General  Alex- 
ander Orloff,  an  old  companion  in  the  Royal  Hussars 
with  the  Emperor.  After  dinner  the  Emperor  and 
General  Orloff  usually  played  billiards,  while  the  Em- 
press and  I  read  or  sewed  under  the  warm  lamplight. 
Those  were  happy  evenings,  full  of  bright  talk  and 
laughter,  and  I  came  to  regard  General  Orloff  as  one 
of  my  best  friends.  Already  the  hateful  hand  of  jeal- 
ousy and  gossip  had  been  directed  against  me  by  people 
who  could  not  understand,  or  who,  from  motives  of 
palace   politics,    deliberately   misunderstood   the    Em- 


press's  preference  for  my  society.  Practically  every 
monarch  has  some  close  personal  friend,  absolutely  dis- 
associated with  politics  and  social  intrigue,  but  I  have 
noticed  that  these  friendships  are  always  misunder- 
stood and  frequently  bitterly  resented.  I  used  to  take 
my  small  troubles  to  General  Orloff,  at  least  they  seem 
small  now  after  years  of  real  trouble  and  affliction. 
But  even  after  these  bitter  years  of  sorrow  and  af- 
fliction the  kindly  counsels  of  the  good  old  general 
often  come  back  to  me,  as  they  did  then,  like  a  friendly 
hand  laid  on  my  hot  and  resentful  heart. 

I  was  then,  in  1906,  a  fully  grown  and  mature  young 
woman  and,  as  I  could  not  help  knowing,  I  was  the 
subject  of  many  conversations  in  the  family  circle  be- 
cause of  my  indifference  to  marriage.  I  had,  I  sup- 
pose, the  normal  amount  of  attention  from  men,  and 
the  usual  number  of  suitors,  but  none  of  the  young 
officers  and  courtiers  with  whom  I  danced  and  chatted 
made  any  special  appeal  to  my  imagination.  There 
was  one  young  naval  officer,  Alexander  Virouboff,  who 
after  December,  1906,  came  to  our  house  almost  every 
day,  paying  me  the  most  marked  attentions.  One  day 
at  luncheon  he  spoke  with  pride  of  the  very  good  serv- 
ice to  which  he  had  just  been  appointed,  and  very  soon 
afterwards  I  found  myself  greeted  on  all  sides  as  his 
affianced.  In  February  there  was  a  ball  in  which  I 
was  formally  presented  as  a  bride,  and  in  the  after 
whirl  of  dinners,  presents,  new  gowns  and  jewels,  I 
began  to  share  the  excitement,  if  not  the  happiness,  of 
those  around  me.  The  Empress  approved  the  match, 
my  parents  approved,  and  no  one  except  my  old 
friend  General  Orloff   expressed  even   a   faint  doubt 


of  the  wisdom  of  the  marriage.  But  on  the  day  when 
he  spoke  to  me  frankly,  advising  me  to  think  seriously 
before  taking  such  a  serious  step,  the  Empress  entered 
the  room  and  said  in  a  decided  voice  that  I  had  given 
my  word  and  that  therefore  I  should  not  be  given  any 

I  was  married  on  the  30th  of  April,  1907,  in  the 
palace  church  at  Tsarskoe  Selo.  The  night  before  I 
slept  ill  and  in  the  early  morning  I  awoke  in  a  mood 
of  sadness  and  depression.  The  events  of  the  day 
passed  more  like  a  dream  than  a  reality.  As  in  a 
dream  I  allowed  myself  to  be  dressed  in  my  white  satin 
wedding  gown  and  floating  veil,  and  still  in  a  dream  I 
knelt  before  their  Majesties  who  blessed  me,  holding 
over  my  head  a  small  ikon.  Then  began  the  marriage 
procession  through  the  long  corridors  to  the  church. 
First  walked  Count  Fredericks,  master  of  ceremonies 
of  the  Court.  Then  came  their  Majesties,  arm  in 
arm,  with  my  little  boy  cousin.  Count  Karloff,  carrying 
a  holy  image.  Then  I,  walking  with  my  father.  I 
must  have  shown  by  my  excessive  pallor  the  anxiety  I 
felt,  for  on  the  stairs  the  Empress  looked  at  me  with 
concern  and  having  caught  my  eye  smiled  brightly  and 
glanced  upward  reassuringly  at  the  bright  sky. 

During  the  ceremony  I  stood  quite  still  like  a  mani- 
kin, gazing  at  my  bridegroom  as  at  some  stranger.  I 
had  one  moment  of  faint  amusement  when  the  offici- 
ating priest,  who  was  very  near-sighted,  mistook  the 
best  man  for  the  bridegroom  addressing  us  affection- 
ately as  "my  dear  children."  The  Empress,  as  my 
matron  of  honor,  stood  at  my  left  hand  with  the  four 
young  Grand  Duchesses,  and  two  others,  the  children 



of  Grand  Duke  Paul.  One  of  these  was  the  Grand 
Duke  Dmitri,  who  was  destined  to  grow  up  to  take 
part  in  the  assassination  of  Rasputine.  On  the  day 
of  my  marriage  he  was  just  a  dear  little  boy,  wide- 
eyed  with  the  excitement  of  being  one  of  a  wedding 
party.  After  the  ceremony  there  was  tea  with  the 
Emperor  and  the  Empress,  and  as  usual  when  she  and 
I  parted  there  was  an  affectionate  little  note  pressed 
into  my  hand.  How  like  an  angel  she  looked  to  me 
that  day,  and  how  hard  it  was  for  me  to  turn  away 
from  her  and  to  go  away  with  my  husband.  There 
was  a  family  dinner  that  night  in  our  home  in  Petro- 
grad,  and  afterwards  we  went  away  for  a  month  into 
the  country. 

It  is  a  hard  thing  for  a  woman  to  tell  of  a  mar- 
riage which  from  the  first  proved  to  be  a  complete  mis- 
take, and  I  shall  say  only  of  my  husband  that  he  was 
the  victim  of  family  abnormalities  which  in  more  than 
one  instance  manifested  themselves  in  madness.  My 
husband's  nervous  system  had  suffered  severely  in  the 
rigors  of  the  Japanese  War,  and  there  were  many 
occasions  when  he  was  not  at  all  responsible  for  what 
he  did.  Often  for  days  together  he  kept  his  bed  re- 
fusing to  speak  to  anyone.  One  night  things  became 
so  threatening  that  I  could  not  forbear  telephoning 
my  fears  to  the  Empress,  and  she,  to  my  joy,  re- 
sponded by  driving  instantly  to  the  house  in  her  eve- 
ning gown  and  jewels.  For  an  hour  she  stayed  with 
me  comforting  me  with  promises  that  the  situation 
should,  in  one  way  or  another,  be  relieved. 

In  August  the  Emperor  and  Empress  invited  us 
both  to  go  for  a  cruise  on  the  Standert,  and  sailing 

THE    STANDERT.     Photograph  by   Mine.  Viroubova. 



through  the  blue  Finnish  fjords  it  did  seem  for  a  time 
that  I  should  find  peace.  But  one  day  a  terrible  thing 
happened,  possibly  an  accident,  but  if  so  a  very  strange 
one,  as  we  had  on  board  an  uncommonly  able  Finnish 
pilot.  We  were  seated  on  deck  at  tea,  the  band  play- 
ing, a  perfectly  calm  sea  running,  when  we  felt  a  ter- 
rific shock  which  shook  the  yacht  from  stem  to  stern 
and  sent  the  tea  service  crashing  to  the  deck.  In  great 
alarm  we  sprang  to  our  feet  only  to  feel  the  yacht  list- 
ing sharply  to  larboard.  In  an  instant  the  decks  were 
alive  with  sailors  obeying  the  harsh  commands  of  the 
captain,  and  helping  the  suite  to  look  to  the  safety  of 
the  women  and  childen.  The  fleet  of  torpedo  boats 
which  always  surrounded  the  yacht  made  speed  to  the 
rescue  and  within  a  few  minutes  the  children  and  their 
nurses  and  attendants  were  taken  off.  Not  knowing 
the  exact  degree  of  the  disaster,  the  Empress  and  I 
hastened  to  the  cabins  where  we  hurriedly  tied  up  in 
sheets  all  the  valuables  we  could  collect.  We  were  the 
last  to  leave  the  poor  Standert,  which  by  that  time  was 
stationary  on  the  rocks. 

We  spent  the  night  on  a  small  vessel,  the  Asia,  the 
Empress  taking  Alexei  with  her  in  one  cabin  and  the 
Emperor  occupying  a  small  cabin  on  deck.  The  little 
Grand  Duchesses  were  crowded  in  a  cabin  by  them- 
selves, their  nurses  and  attendants  finding  beds  where 
they  could.  The  ship  was  far  from  clean  and  I  re- 
member the  Emperor,  rather  disheveled  himself,  bring- 
ing basins  of  water  to  the  Empress  and  me  in  which 
to  wash  our  faces  and  hands.  We  had  some  kind  of 
a  dinner  about  midnight  and  none  of  us  passed  an 
especially  restful  night.     The  next  day  came  the  yacht 


Alexandria  on  which  we  spent  the  next  two  weeks.  A 
fortnight  was  required  to  get  the  ill-fated  Standert  off 
the  rocks  on  which  she  had  so  mysteriously  been 
driven.  From  the  Alexandria  and  later  to  the  Polar 
Star^  to  which  we  had  been  transferred,  we  watched 
the  unhappy  yacht  being  carefully  removed  from  her 
captivity.  We  had  not  been  very  comfortable  on  the 
Alexandria  because  there  was  not  nearly  enough  cabin 
room  for  our  rather  numerous  company.  The  Em- 
press occupied  a  cabin,  the  Tsarevitch  and  his  sailor 
another  one  adjoining.  The  four  little  Grand 
Duchesses  did  as  well  as  they  could  in  one  small  cabin, 
while  the  Emperor  slept  on  a  couch  in  the  main  salon. 
As  for  me,  I  slept  in  a  bathroom.  Most  of  the  suite 
found  quarters  on  a  Finnish  ship  which  stood  by. 

After  our  return  to  Peterhof  my  husband  became 
worse  rather  than  better  and  his  physician  advised  him 
to  spend  some  time  in  a  sanatorium  for  nervous  pa- 
tients in  Switzerland.  He  left,  but  on  coming  back  to 
Russia  was  noticeably  in  worse  condition  than  before. 
In  the  hope  that  active  service  would  be  of  benefit  to 
his  shattered  nerves  and  disordered  brain  he  was  or- 
dered to  sea,  but  even  this  expedient  proved  of  little 
benefit.  After  a  year  of  intense  suffering  and  hu- 
miliation my  unhappy  marriage,  with  the  full  approval 
of  their  Majesties  and  of  my  parents,  was  dissolved. 

I  kept  my  little  house  in  Tsarskoe  Selo,  its  modest 
furnishings  beautified  by  many  gifts  from  the  Empress. 
Among  these  gifts  were  some  charming  pictures  and 
six  exquisitely  embroidered  antique  chairs.  A  silver- 
laden  tea  table  helped  to  make  the  salon  cozy,  and  I 
have  many  happy  memories  of  intimate  teas  to  which 


the  Empress  sent  fruit  and  the  Emperor  the  cherry 
brandy  which  he  especially  affected. 

The  little  house,  however,  was  far  from  being  the 
luxurious  palace  in  which  I  have  often  been  pictured 
as  living.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  it  was  frightfully  cold 
in  winter  because  the  house  had  no  stone  foundation 
but  rested  on  the  frozen  earth.  Sometimes  when  the 
Emperor  and  Empress  came  to  tea  we  sat  with  our 
feet  on  the  sofa  to  keep  warm.  Once  the  Emperor 
jokingly  told  me  that  after  a  visit  to  my  house  he 
kept  himself  from  freezing  only  by  going  directly  to 
a  hot  bath. 

The  summer  of  1908  the  Emperor  and  Empress 
paid  an  official  visit  to  England,  but  on  their  return 
they  sent  for  me  and  again  I  spent  a  happy  holiday  on 
the  yacht.  Not  altogether  happy,  however,  for 
towards  the  end  of  the  cruise  my  poor  friend  General 
Orloff,  then  near  his  death  from  tuberculosis,  came 
to  say  good-bye  to  his  Sovereigns.  Correct  in  his  uni- 
form and  all  his  orders  the  fine  old  soldier  bade  us  all 
a  brave  farewell  before  leaving  for  Egypt,  where  he 
well  knew  that  his  end  awaited  him.  Peace  to  his 
honored  ashes.  He  lies  buried  at  Tsarskoe  Selo, 
where  the  Emperor  and  Empress  often  visited  his 
grave.  Poor  Orloff,  he  too  suffered  from  the  malicious 
gossip  of  the  Court  where  his  honest  admiration  of 
the  Empress  was  deliberately  misinterpreted  and  as- 
soiled.  I  can  bear  witness,  and  I  do,  that  his  greatest 
devotion  was  to  the  Emperor,  his  old  comrade  in  arms, 
the  friend  of  his  youthful  days. 


IN  the  autumn  of  1909  I  went  for  the  first  time  to 
Livadia,  the  country  estate  of  the  Imperial  Family 
in  the  Crimea.  This  part  of  Russia,  dearer  to  all  of  the 
Tsars  than  any  other,  is  a  small  peninsula,  almost  an 
island,  surrounded  on  the  west  and  south  by  the  Black 
Sea  and  on  the  east  by  the  Sea  of  Asov.  A  range  of 
high  hills  protects  it  from  the  cold  winds  of  the  north 
and  gives  it  a  climate  so  mild  and  bland  as  to  be  almost 
sub-tropical.  The  Imperial  estate,  which  occupies 
nearly  half  the  peninsula,  has  always  been  left  as  far 
as  possible  In  its  natural  condition  of  unbroken  forests, 
wild  mountains,  and  valleys.  There  was  at  the  time  of 
which  I  write  but  one  short  railroad  in  the  whole  of  the 
Crimea,  a  short  line  running  from  Sevastopol,  the  prin- 
cipal port  of  the  Black  Sea,  northward  to  Moscow. 
All  other  journeys  had  to  be  taken  by  carriage,  motor 
cars,  or  on  horseback. 

The  natural  beauties  of  the  Crimea  would  be  dif- 
ficult to  exaggerate.  The  mountains,  dark  with  pines, 
snow-covered  during  most  of  the  year,  make  an  Im- 
posing background  for  the  profusion  of  flowering 
trees,  shrubs  and  vines,  making  the  valleys  and  plains 
one  continuous  garden.  The  vineyards  of  the  Crimea 
are,  or  were  previous  to  the  Revolution,  equal  to  any 
in  Italy  or  southern  France.  What  they  became  after- 
wards God  knows.     But  certainly  up  to  the  summer  of 



19 14,  when  I  saw  them  last,  the  vine-clad  hills  and 
valleys  of  the  Crimea  were  an  earthly  Paradise,  as 
lovely  and  as  peaceful  as  the  mind  can  picture.  From 
the  grapes  of  the  Crimea  were  distilled  the  best  wines 
in  Russia,  among  others  an  excellent  champagne  and 
a  delicious  sweet  wine  of  the  muscat  variety. 

Almost  every  kind  of  fruit  flourished  in  the  valleys, 
and  in  spring  the  wealth  of  blossoms,  pink  and  white, 
of  apples,  cherries,  peaches,  almonds,  made  the  whole 
countryside  a  perfumed  garden,  while  in  autumn  the 
masses   of   golden    fruit   were    a   wonder   to    behold. 
Flowers  bloomed  as  though  they  were  the  very  soul  of 
the  fair  earth.     Never  have  I  seen  such  roses.     They 
spread  over  every  building  in  great  vines  as  strong 
as  iv>%  and  they  scattered  their  rich  petals  over  lawns 
and  pathways  in  fragrance  at  times  almost  overpower- 
ing.    There   was  another  flower,  the  glycinia,  which 
grew    on    trailing    vines    in    grapelike    clusters,    deep 
mauve  in  hue,  the  favorite  color  of  the  Empress.    This 
flower,  too,  was  intensely  fragrant,  as  were  the  violets 
which  in  spring  literally  carpeted  the  plains.     Imagine 
these  valleys  and  plains,  with  their  vineyards  and  or- 
chards, their  tall  cypress  trees  and  trailing  roses,  slop- 
ing down  to  a  sea  as  blue  as  the  sky  and  as  gentle  as  a 
summer  day,  and  yon  have  a  picture,  imperfectly  as 
I  have  painted  it,  of  the  country  retreat  of  the  Roman- 
offs.    Here  of  all  places  in  Russia  they  were  loved 
and  revered.     The  natives  of  the  peninsula  were  Tar- 
tars,  the  men  very  tall   and  strong  and  the   women 
almost    invariably   handsome.      They    were    Moham- 
medans, and  it  was  only  within  late  years  that  the 
women   had   discarded    their    veils.      Both    men    and 


women  wore  very  picturesque  dress,  the  men  wearing 
round  black  fur  caps  and  short  embroidered  coats  over 
tight  white  trousers.  It  was  the  fashion  for  the  women 
to  dye  their  hair  a  bright  red,  over  which  they  wore 
small  caps  and  floating  veils  and  adorning  themselves 
with  a  wealth  of  silver  bangles.  These  Tartars  were 
an  honest  folk,  absolutely  loyal  to  the  Tsar.  They 
were  wonderful  horsemen,  comparing  favorably  with 
the  best  of  the  Cossacks,  and  their  horses,  through 
long  breeding  and  training,  were  natural  pacers.  To 
see  a  cavalcade  of  Tartars  sweep  by  was  to  imagine  a 
race  of  Centaurs  come  back  to  earth,  so  absolutely 
one  was  every  horse  and  man. 

The  palace,  as  I  saw  it  in  1909,  was  a  large,  old 
wooden  structure  surrounded  by  balconies,  the  rooms 
dark,  damp,  and  unattractive.  The  only  really  sunny 
and  cheerful  room  in  the  whole  house  was  the  dining 
room,  where  twice  a  day  the  suite  met  for  luncheon 
and  dinner.  The  Emperor  usually  presided  at  these 
meals,  but  the  Empress  being  in  bad  health  lunched 
privately  with  the  Tsarevitch.  The  Empress  had  been 
for  some  time  a  victim  of  the  most  alarming  heart 
attacks  which  she  bravely  concealed,  not  wishing  the 
public  to  know  her  condition.  Oftentimes  when  I 
remarked  the  blue  whiteness  of  her  hands,  her  quick, 
gasping  breaths,  she  silenced  me  with  a  peremptory 
"Don't  say  anything.  People  need  not  know."  How- 
ever, I  was  intensely  relieved  when  at  last  she  con- 
sented to  have  the  daily  attention  of  a  special  physician, 
this  being  the  devoted  Dr.  Botkine,  who  accompanied 
the  family  in  their  Siberian  exile,  and  shared  their 
fate,  whatever  that  fate  may  have  been.     Dr.  Botkine, 


although  a  very  able  physician,  was  not  a  man  of  great 
social  prominence,  and  when,  at  the  Empress's  request, 
I  went  to  apprise  him  of  his  appointment  as  special 
medical  adviser  to  their  Majesties,  he  received  the 
news  with  astonishment  almost  amounting  to  dismay. 
He  began  his  administration  by  greatly  curtailing  the 
activities  of  the  Empress,  keeping  her  quietly  in  bed 
for  long  periods,  and  insisting  on  the  use  of  a  rolling 
chair  in  the  gardens,  and  a  pony  chaise  for  longer 
jaunts  abroad. 

Life  at  Livadia  in  1909  and  in  after  years  was  simple 
and  informal.  We  walked,  rode,  bathed  in  the  sea, 
and  generally  led  a  healthful  country  life,  such  as  the 
Tsar,  eminently  an  outdoor  man  and  a  lover  of  nature, 
enjoyed  to  the  utmost.  We  roamed  the  woods  gather- 
ing wild  berries  and  mushrooms  which  we  ate  at  our 
al  fresco  teas,  cooking  the  mushrooms  over  little  camp- 
fires  of  twigs  and  dried  leaves.  The  Emperor  and 
his  suite  hunted  a  little,  rode  much,  and  played  very 
good  tennis.  In  this  latter  sport  I  was  often  the  Em- 
peror's partner  and  a  very  serious  affair  I  had  to  make 
of  each  game.  No  conversation  was  allowed,  and  we 
played  with  all  the  gravity  and  intensity  of  profes- 

We  had  each  year  many  visitors.  In  1909  came 
sometimes  to  lunch  the  Emir  of  Bokhara,  a  big,  hand- 
some Oriental  in  a  long  black  coat  and  a  white  turban 
glittering  with  diamonds  and  rubies.  He  seemed  in- 
tensely interested  in  the  comparative  simplicity  of  Rus- 
sian royal  customs,  and  when  he  departed  for  his  own 
land  he  distributed  presents  in  true  Arabian  Nights' 
profusion,     costly     diamonds     and     rubies     to     their 


Majesties,  and  to  the  suite  orders  and  decorations  set 
with  jewels.  Nevertheless  the  souvenir  of  the  Emir's 
visit  to  Livadia  which  I  most  prized  was  a  photograph 
of  himself  for  which  he  obligingly  posed  in  the  gar- 
dens. This  photograph  and  hundreds  of  others  which 
I  took  during  the  twelve  years  I  spent  with  the  Im- 
perial Family  I  was  obliged  to  leave  behind  me  when 
I  fled,  a  hunted  refugee,  across  the  Russian  frontier. 
I  have  no  hope  of  ever  seeing  any  of  them  again. ^ 

The  20th  of  October,  the  anniversary  of  the 
death  of  Alexander  III,  was  always  remembered  by 
a  solemn  religious  service  held  in  the  room  where  he 
died,  the  armchair  in  which  he  breathed  his  last  being 
draped  in  heavy  black.  This  deatli  chamber  was  not 
in  the  main  palace  but  in  a  smaller  house  adjoining, 
one  which  in  1909  was  used  as  a  lodging  for  the  suite. 
The  last  part  of  our  stay  in  the  Crimea  that  year  was 
not  very  gay.  The  Emperor  left  us  for  an  official  visit 
to  the  King  of  Italy,  and  on  the  day  of  his  departure 
the  Empress,  greatly  depressed,  shut  herself  up  in 
her  own  room  refusing  to  see  anyone,  even  the  children. 
It  was  always  to  her  an  intolerable  burden  that  she  and 
the  Emperor  were  obliged  by  etiquette  to  part  from 
each  other  in  public  and  to  meet  again  after  each  ab- 
sence in  full  view  of  the  suite  and  often  of  the  staring 

This  autumn  was  made  sad  also  by  one  of  the 
all  too  frequent  illnesses  of  the  unfortunate  little 
Tsarevitch.  The  sufferings  of  the  child  on  these  oc- 
casions were  so  acute  that  everyone  in  the  palace  was 

*  Happily   many   of   these   photographs   were    later    recovered    and 
appear   among  illustrations   of  this  volume. 


rendered  perfectly  miserable.  Nothing  much  could  be 
done  to  assuage  the  poor  boy's  agony,  and  nothing  ex- 
cept the  constant  love  and  devotion  of  the  Empress 
gave  him  the  slightest  relief.  We  who  could  do  noth- 
ing else  for  him  took  refuge  in  prayer  and  supplica- 
tion in  the  little  church  near  the  palace.  Mile. 
Tutcheva,  maid  of  honor  to  the  young  Grand 
Duchesses,  read  the  psalms,  while  the  Empress,  the 
older  girls,  Olga  and  Tatiana,  two  of  the  Tsar's  aides, 
and  myself  assisted  in  the  singing.  In  the  midst  of 
our  anxiety  and  distress  during  this  illness  of  Alexei 
my  father  paid  us  a  brief  visit,  bringing  important  re- 
ports to  the  Emperor,  and  this  was  at  least  a  momen- 
tary bright  hour  in  the  sorrow  of  my  existence.  At 
Christmas  time  the  Court  returned  to  Tsarskoe  Selo, 
both  the  Empress  and  the  Tsarevitch  by  this  time  much 
improved  in  health. 

The  next  time  I  went  with  their  Majesties  to  the 
Crimea  we  found  the  estate  transformed  and  greatly 
beautified  by  the  substitution  of  a  palace  of  white 
marble  for  the  ancient  and  gloomy  wooden  buildings. 
The  new  palace  was  the  work  of  the  eminent  architect, 
Krasnoff,  who  had  also  designed  the  palaces  of  the 
Grand  Dukes  Nicholas  and  George.  In  the  two  years 
Krasnoff  had  indeed  worked  marvels,  not  only  in  the 
palace,  which  was  a  gem  of  Italian  Renaissance  archi- 
tecture, but  in  many  smaller  buildings,  the  whole  con- 
stituting a  town  in  itself,  harmonious  in  material  and 

I  shall  never  forget  the  day  we  landed  in  Yalta,  and 
the  glorious  drive  through  the  bright  spring  sunshine 
to  the  palace.     Before  the  carriage  rode  an  old  Tartar 


of  the  Crimea,  one  of  the  tribe  I  described  earlier  in 
this  chapter.  To  ride  before  the  Tsar's  carriage  was 
an  ancient  prerogative  of  these  honest  and  loyal  people, 
a  prerogative  which  had  to  be  resigned  when  carriages 
gave  way  to  motor  cars.  No  Tartar  horse  could  have 
kept  pace  with,  much  less  have  preceded,  a  motor  car 
of  Nicholas  II,  for  he  always  insisted  on  driving  at  a 
terrifying  speed.  But  as  late  as  191 1  he  kept  up  the 
old  custom  of  driving  from  Yalta  to  Livadia. 

We  drove,  as  I  say,  through  the  dazzling  sunshine 
and  under  the  fresh  green  trees  of  springtime  until  the 
white  palace,  set  in  gardens  of  blooming  flowers  and 
vines,  burst  on  our  delighted  eyes.  Russian  fashion  we 
proceeded  first  to  the  church,  from  whence  in  proces- 
sion we  followed  the  priests  to  the  anointing  and  bless- 
ing of  the  new  dwelling.  The  first  day  I  spent  with  the 
Empress  superintending  the  hanging  of  pictures  and 
ikons,  placing  familiar  and  homely  objects,  photo- 
graphs and  souvenirs,  so  necessary  to  make  a  dwell- 
ing place  out  of  an  empty  house,  even  though  it  be 
a  royal  palace.  On  the  second  floor  were  the  private 
apartments  of  the  family,  including  a  small  salon.  The 
apartments  of  the  Empress  were  furnished  in  light 
wood  and  pink  chintzes  and  many  vases  and  jars  always 
kept  full  of  the  pink  and  mauve  flowers  she  loved. 
From  the  windows  of  her  boudoir  one  looked  out  on 
the  wooded  hills,  and  from  the  bedroom  there  was  an 
enchanting  view  of  the  sparkling  sea.  To  the  right 
of  the  Empress's  boudoir  was  the  Emperor's  study, 
furnished  in  green  leather  with  a  large  writing  table 
in  the  center  of  the  room.  On  this  floor  also  was  the 
family  dining  room,  the  bedrooms  of  the  Tsarevitch 


and  of  the  Grand  Duchesses  and  their  attendants,  a 
large  day  room  for  the  use  of  the  children,  and  a  big 
white  hall  or  ballroom,  seldom  used. 

Below  were  the  rooms  of  state,  drawing  rooms  and 
dining  rooms,  all  in  white,  the  doors  and  windows 
opening  on  a  marble  courtyard  draped  with  roses  and 
vines  which  almost  covered  an  antique  Italian  well  in 
the  center  of  the  court.  Here  the  Emperor  loved  to 
walk  and  smoke  after  luncheon,  chatting  with  his 
guests  or  with  members  of  the  household.  The  whole 
palace,  including  the  rooms  of  state,  were  lightly, 
beautifully  furnished  in  white  wood  and  flowered 
chintzes,  giving  the  effect  of  a  hospitable  summer 
home   rather  than   a  palace. 

That  autumn  was  marked  by  a  season  of  unusual 
gaiety  in  honor  of  the  coming  of  age,  at  sixteen,  of 
the  Grand  Duchess  Olga,  who  received  for  the  oc- 
casion a  beautiful  diamond  ring  and  a  necklace  of 
diamonds  and  pearls.  This  gift  of  a  necklace  to  the 
daughter  of  a  Tsar  when  she  became  of  age  was 
traditional,  but  the  expense  of  it  to  Alexandra  Feo- 
dorovna,  the  mother  of  four  daughters,  was  a  matter 
of  apprehension.  Powerless  to  change  the  custom, 
even  had  she  wished  to  do  so,  she  tried  to  ease  the  bur- 
den on  the  treasury  by  a  gradual  accumulation  of  the 
jewels.  By  her  request  the  necklaces,  instead  of  being 
purchased  outright  when  the  young  Grand  Duchesses 
reached  the  age  of  sixteen,  were  collected  stone  by  stone 
on  their  birthdays  and  name  days.  Thus  at  the  coming- 
out  ball  of  the  Grand  Duchess  Olga  she  wore  a  necklace 
of  thirty-two  superb  jewels  which  had  been  accumu- 
lating for  her  from  her  babyhood. 


It  was  a  very  charming  ball  that  marked  the  intro- 
duction to  society  of  the  oldest  daughter  of  the  Tsar. 
Flushed  and  fair  in  her  first  long  gown,  something  pink 
and  filmy  and  of  course  very  smart,  Olga  was  as  ex- 
cited over  her  debut  as  any  other  young  girl.  Her  hair, 
blonde  and  abundant,  was  worn  for  the  first  time  coiled 
up  young-lady  fashion,  and  she  bore  herself  as  the 
central  figure  of  the  festivities  with  a  modesty  and  a 
dignity  which  greatly  pleased  her  parents.  We  danced 
in  the  great  state  dining  room  on  the  first  floor,  the 
glass  doors  to  the  courtyard  thrown  open,  the  music 
of  the  unseen  orchestra  floating  in  from  the  rose  gar- 
den like  a  breath  of  its  own  wondrous  fragrance.  It 
was  a  perfect  night,  clear  and  warm,  and  the  gowns 
and  jewels  of  the  women  and  the  brilliant  uniforms  of 
the  men  made  a  striking  spectacle  under  the  blaze  of 
the  electric  lights.  The  ball  ended  in  a  cotillion  and 
a  sumptuous  supper  served  on  small  tables  in  the 

This  was  a  beginning  of  a  series  of  festivities  which 
the  Grand  Duchess  Olga  and  a  little  later  on  her  sister 
Tatlana  enjoyed  to  their  utmost,  for  they  were  not  in 
the  least  like  the  conventional  idea  of  princesses,  but 
simple,  happy,  normal  young  girls,  loving  dancing  and 
parties  and  all  the  frivolities  which  make  youth  bright 
and  memorable.  Besides  the  dances  given  at  LIvadia 
that  year,  large  functions  attended  by  practically  every- 
one in  the  neighborhood  who  had  Court  entree,  there 
were  a  number  of  very  brilliant  balls  given  in  honor 
of  Olga  and  Tatlana  after  the  family  returned  to 
Tsarskoe  Selo.  Two  of  these  were  given  by  the  Grand 
Dukes  Peter  and  George  and  the  girls  enjoyed  them 


so  much  that  they  begged  for  another  before  Christ- 
mas. This  time  it  was  Grand  Duke  Nicholas  who  pro- 
vided a  most  regal  entertainment,  preceded  by  a  dinner 
for  the  suite,  to  which  I  was  invited.  I  went  because 
the  Empress  wished  it,  but  I  went  rather  unwillingly 
knowing  that  the  atmosphere  was  not  a  friendly  one. 
Their  Majesties  were  at  that  time  particularly  friendly 
with  Grand  Duke  George  and  his  wife  who  was 
Princess  Marie  of  Greece,  as  formerly  they  had  been 
with  Grand  Dukes  Peter  and  Nicholas  and  their  wives, 
the  Montenegran  princesses,  Melitza  and  Stana,  of 
whom  more  must  be  written  later  on. 

In  relating  the  events  of  the  coming  of  age  of  Olga 
and  Tatiana  I  must  not  forget  to  mention  affairs  of 
almost  equal  consequence  which  occurred  in  the  Crimea 
in  that  season  of  191 1.  The  climate  of  the  Crimea 
was  ideal  for  tuberculosis  patients,  and  from  her 
earliest  married  life  the  Empress  had  taken  the  deepest 
interest  in  the  many  hospitals  and  sanatoria  which 
nestled  among  the  hills,  some  of  them  almost  within 
the  confines  of  the  Imperial  estate.  Before  the  be- 
ginning of  the  reign  of  Nicholas  II  and  Alexandra 
Feodorovna  these  hospitals  existed  in  numbers  but 
they  were  not  of  the  best  modern  type.  Not  satisfied 
with  these  institutions  the  Empress  out  of  her  own 
private  fortune  built  and  equipped  new  and  improved 
hospitals,  and  one  of  the  first  duties  laid  on  me  when 
I  first  visited  the  Crimea  was  to  spend  hours  at  a  time 
visiting,  inspecting  and  reporting  on  the  condition  of 
buildings,  nursing  and  care  of  patients.  I  was  partic- 
ularly charged  with  discovering  patients  who  were  too 
poor  to  pay  for  the  best  food  and  nursing,  and  one  of 


each  summer's  activities  wlien  the  family  visited  the 
Crimea  was  a  bazaar  or  other  entertainment  for  the 
benefit  of  these  needy  ones.  Four  great  bazaars  organ- 
ized and  largely  managed  by  the  Empress  I  particularly 
remember.  The  first  of  these  was  held  in  191 1  and 
the  others  in  1912,  1913,  and  1914.  For  all  of  these 
bazaars  the  Empress  and  her  ladies  worked  very  hard 
and  from  the  opening  day  the  Empress,  however  pre- 
carious the  condition  of  her  health,  always  presided  at 
her  own  table,  disposing  of  fine  needlework,  em- 
broidery, and  art  objects  with  energy  and  enthusiasm. 
The  crowds  around  her  booth  were  enormous,  the 
people  pressing  forward  almost  frenziedly  to  touch  her 
hand,  her  sleeve,  her  dress,  enchanted  to  receive  their 
purchases  from  the  hand  of  the  Empress  they  adored, 
for  she  was  adored  by  the  real  Russian  people,  what- 
ever the  intriguing  Court  and  the  jealous  political 
rivals  of  her  husband  thought  of  her.  Often  the  crowd 
at  these  bazaars  would  beg  for  a  sight  of  Alexei,  and 
smiling  with  pleasure  the  Empress  would  lift  him  to 
the  table  where  the  child  would  bow  shyly  but  sweetly, 
stretching  out  his  hands  in  friendly  greeting  to  the 
worshipping  crowds.  Indeed  the  people  loved  all  the 
Imperial  Family  then,  whatever  changes  were  made  in 
the  minds  of  the  many  by  the  horrible  sufferings  of  the 
War,  by  propaganda,  and  by  the  mania  of  the  Revolu- 
tion. The  great  mass  of  the  Russian  people  loved  and 
were  loyal  to  their  Sovereigns.  No  one  who  knew 
them  at  all  can  ever  forget  that. 

Perhaps  they  were  more  universally  loved  in  the 
Crimea  than  elsewhere  because  of  the  simplicity  of 
their  lives  and  the  close  touch  they  were  able  to  keep 


with  the  people  of  the  country.  We  went  to  Livadia 
again  in  1912,  in  1913,  and  last  of  all  in  the  spring  and 
summer  of  19 14.  We  arrived  in  19 12  in  the  last  week 
of  Lent,  I  think  the  Saturday  before  Palm  Sunday.  Al- 
ready the  fruit  trees  were  in  full  bloom  and  the  air 
was  warm  with  spring.  Twice  a  day  we  attended 
service  in  the  church,  and  on  Thursday  of  Holy  Week, 
a  very  solemn  day  in  the  orthodox  Russian  calendar, 
their  Majesties  took  communion,  previously  turning 
from  the  altar  to  the  congregation  and  bowing  on  all 
sides.  After  this  they  approached  the  holy  images 
and  kissed  them.  The  Empress  in  her  white  gown  and 
cap  looked  beautiful  if  somewhat  thin  and  frail,  and 
it  was  very  sweet  to  see  the  little  Alexei  helping  his 
mother  from  her  knees  after  each  deep  reverence.  On 
Easter  eve  there  was  a  procession  with  candles  all 
through  the  courts  of  the  palace  and  on  Easter  Sunday 
for  two  hours  the  soldiers,  according  to  old  custom, 
gathered  to  exchange  Easter  kisses  with  the  Emperor 
and  to  receive  each  an  Easter  egg.  Children  from  the 
schools  came  to  salute  in  like  manner  the  Empress. 
For  their  Majesties  it  was  a  long  and  fatiguing  cere- 
mony, but  they  carried  it  through  with  all  graciousness, 
while  the  Imperial  household  looked  on. 

Such  was  the  intimate,  the  patriarchal  relation  be- 
tween the  Tsar  and  his  people,  and  such  was  the  real 
soul  of  Russia  before  the  Revolution.  I  have  often 
read,  in  books  written  by  Western  authors,  that  the 
Tsar  and  all  the  Imperial  Family  lived  in  hourly  terror 
of  assassination,  that  they  knew  themselves  hated  by 
their  people  and  were  righteously  afraid  of  them. 
Nothing  could  possibly  be   farther   from  the   truth. 


Certainly  neither  Nicholas  II  nor  Alexandra  Feo- 
dorovna  feared  their  people.  The  constant  police 
supervision  under  which  they  lived  annoyed  them  un- 
speakably, and  never  were  they  happier  than  when 
practically  unattended  they  moved  freely  among  the 
Russian  people  they  loved.  In  connection  with  the 
Empress's  care  for  the  tuberculosis  patients  in  the 
Crimea  there  was  one  day  every  summer  known  as 
White  Flower  Day,  and  on  that  day  every  member  of 
society,  unless  she  had  a  very  good  excuse,  went  out 
into  the  towns  and  sold  white  flowers  for  the  benefit 
of  the  hospitals.  It  was  a  day  especially  delightful  to 
the  Empress  and,  as  they  grew  old  enough  to  partici- 
pate In  such  duties,  to  all  the  young  Grand  Duchesses. 
The  Empress  and  her  daughters  worked  very  hard  on 
White  Flower  Day,  spending  practically  the  whole 
day  driving  and  walking,  mingling  with  the  crowd  and 
vending  their  flowers  as  enthusiastically  as  though 
their  fortunes  depended  on  selling  them  all.  Of  course 
they  always  did  sell  them  all.  The  crowds  surged 
around  them  eager  and  proud  to  buy  a  flower  from 
their  full  baskets.  But  the  buyers  were  no  whit  happier 
than  the  sellers,  that  I  can  say  with  assurance. 

Of  course  life  in  the  Crimea  was  not  all  simplicity 
and  informality.  There  were  a  great  many  visitors, 
most  of  them  of  rank  too  exalted  to  be  treated  with 
informality.  I  remember  in  particular  visits  of  Grand 
Duke  Ernest  of  Hesse,  brother  of  the  Empress,  and 
his  wife,  Princess  Eleanor.  I  remember  also  visits 
of  the  widowed  Grand  Duchess  Serge,  who  had  become 
a  nun  and  was  now  abbess  of  a  wonderful  convent  in 
Moscow,  the  House  of  Mary  and  Martha.    When  she 


visited  Livadia  masses  were  said  daily  in  the  palace 
church.  I  ought  not,  while  speaking  of  visitors,  to 
omit  mention  of  the  old  Prince  Galitzin,  a  very  odd 
person,  but  strongly  attached  to  the  Tsar,  to  whom 
he  presented  a  part  of  his  own  estate,  some  distance  to 
Livadia,  and  to  which  we  made  a  special  excursion  on 
the  royal  yacht.  Another  memorable  excursion  was 
to  the  estates  of  Prince  Oldenbourg  on  the  coast  of 
Caucasia.  The  sea  that  day  was  very  rough  and 
by  the  time  we  reached  our  destination  the  Empress 
was  so  prostrated  that  she  could  not  go  ashore.  It 
was  a  pity  because  she  missed  what  to  all  the  others 
was  a  remarkable  spectacle,  a  grand  holiday  of  the 
Caucasians  who,  in  their  picturesque  costumes,  crowded 
down  to  the  shore  to  greet  their  Sovereigns.  The 
whole  countryside  was  in  festival,  great  bonfires  burn- 
ing in  all  the  hills  and  on  all  the  meadows  wild  music 
and  the  most  fascinating  of  native  dances. 

Such  was  life  in  the  Crimea  in  the  old,  vanished  days. 
Simple,  happy,  kind,  and  loyal,  all  that  was  best  in 


THESE  yearly  visits  to  the  Crimea  were  diversi- 
fied with  holiday  voyages  on  the  Standert,  and 
visits  to  relatives  and  close  friends  in  various  countries. 
In  1 9 10  their  Majesties  visited  Riga  and  other  Baltic 
ports  where  they  were  royally  welcomed,  afterwards 
voyaging  to  Finnish  waters  where  they  received  as 
guests  the  King  and  Queen  of  Sweden,  This  was  an 
official  visit,  hence  attended  with  considerable  cere- 
mony, exchange  visits  of  the  Sovereigns  from  yacht 
to  warship,  state  dinners  and  receptions.  At  one  of 
these  dinners  I  sat  next  the  admiral  of  the  Swedish 
fleet,  who  was  much  depressed  because  during  the  royal 
salute  to  the  Emperor  one  of  his  sailors  had  acci- 
dentally been  killed. 

In  the  autumn  of  1910  the  Emperor  and  Empress 
went  to  Nauheim,  hoping  that  the  waters  would  have 
a  beneficial  effect  on  her  failing  health.  They  left  on 
a  cold  and  rainy  day  and  both  were  in  a  melancholy 
state,  partly  because  of  separation  from  the  beloved 
home,  and  partly  because  of  the  quite  apparent  weak- 
ness of  the  Empress.  On  her  account  the  Emperor 
showed  himself  deeply  disturbed.  "I  would  do  any- 
thing," he  said  to  me,  "even  to  going  to  prison,  if  she 
could  only  be  well  again."  This  anxiety  was  shared 
by  the  whole  household,  even  by  the  servants  who 
stood  in  line  on  the  staircase  saying  their  farewells, 



kissing  the  shoulder  of  the  Emperor  and  the  gloved 
hand  of  the  Empress. 

I  heard  almost  daily  from  Frieberg,  where  the 
family  were  stopping,  letters  from  the  Emperor,  the 
Empress,  and  the  children,  telling  me  of  their  daily 
life.  At  length  came  a  letter  from  the  Empress  sug- 
gesting that  I  join  my  father  at  Hombourg,  not  far 
distant,  that  we  might  have  opportunity  for  occasional 
meetings.  As  soon  as  I  arrived  I  telephoned  the 
chateau  at  Frieberg,  and  the  next  day  a  motor  car 
was  sent  to  fetch  me.  I  found  the  Empress  improved 
in  health  but  looking  thin  and  tired  from  the  rather 
rigorous  cure.  The  Emperor,  in  his  civilian  clothes, 
looked  unfamiliar  and  strange,  but  he  wore  the  con- 
ventional citizen's  garb  because  he  as  well  as  the  Em- 
press wished  to  remain  as  far  as  possible  private  per- 
sons. When  the  health  of  the  Empress  permitted  she, 
with  Olga  and  Tatiana,  enjoyed  going  unattended  to 
Nauheim,  walking  unnoticed  through  the  streets,  and 
gazing  admiringly  into  shop  windows  like  ordinary 
tourists.  Once  the  Emperor  and  the  young  Grand 
Duchesses  motored  over  to  Hombourg  and  for  a  short 
hour  walked  about  quite  happily  unobserved.  Only  too 
soon,  however,  the  Emperor  was  recognized  and  our 
whole  small  party,  was  obliged  to  flee  precipitously  be- 
fore the  gathering  crowds  and  the  ever  enterprising 
news  photographers.  On  some  of  our  outings  the 
Emperor  was  more  fortunate.  Once  when  we  were 
wandering  along  a  country  road  on  the  outskirts  of 
Hombourg  a  wagon  passing  us  dropped  suddenly  Into 
the  road  a  heavy  box.  The  carrier,  try  as  he  would, 
could  not  succeed  in  lifting  the  box  back  to  Its  place 


until  the  Emperor  went  forward  and,  exerting  all  his 
strength,  helped  the  man  out  of  his  difficulty.  The 
carrier  thanked  his  Majesty  with  every  expression  of 
respect  and  gratitude,  recognizing  him  as  a  gentle- 
man but  never  dreaming,  of  course,  of  his  exalted  sta- 
tion. To  my  expressions  of  amused  enjoyment  of  the 
situation  the  Emperor  said  to  me  gravely:  "I  have 
come  to  believe  that  the  higher  a  man's  station  in  life 
the  less  it  becomes  him  to  assume  any  airs  of  su- 
periority. I  want  my  children  to  be  brought  up  In  this 
same  belief." 

Soon  after  this  I  returned  to  Russia  to  visit  my 
sister,  who  had  just  borne  her  first  baby,  a  little  girl 
named  for  the  Grand  Duchess  Tatiana,  who  acted  as 
godmother  for  the  child.  My  stay  was  not  long,  as 
letters  from  the  Empress  called  me  to  Frankfort  in 
order  to  be  near  her.  On  my  arrival  at  Frankfort  a 
surprise  awaited  me  in  the  form  of  an  invitation  from 
the  Grand  Duke  Ernest  of  Hesse  to  stay  with  his  Im- 
perial guests  at  his  castle.  At  the  castle  gates  I  was 
welcomed  by  Mme.  Grancy,  the  charming  hof- 
mistress  of  the  Hessian  Court,  and  by  Miss  Kerr,  a 
bright  and  clever  English  girl,  maid  of  honor  to 
Princess  Victoria.  Miss  Kerr  took  me  at  once  to  my 
apartments,  near  her  own,  and  I  quickly  made  myself 
at  home.  That  night  at  dinner  I  sat  between  the  Em- 
peror and  our  host,  the  Grand  Duke  of  Hesse.  The 
company,  which  was  most  distinguished,  included 
Prince  Henry  of  Prussia,  who  that  evening  happened 
to  be  in  rather  a  disagreeable  mood,  Princess  Irene, 
Princess  Victoria  of  Battenberg,  and  her  beautiful 
daughter  Princess  Louise,  Prince  George  of  Greece, 


and  the  two  semi-Invalid  sons  of  Prince  and  Princess 
Henry.  The  Empress  was  not  present,  being  excused 
on  account  of  her  cure.  Besides,  it  was  understood 
that  the  Empress  almost  never  appeared  at  state 

The  Grand  Duke  of  Hesse  I  have  always  liked  ex- 
tremely both  for  his  amiable  disposition  and  for  his 
many  accomplishments.  He  was,  and  is  still,  an  un- 
usually gifted  musician,  a  painter,  and  an  artist  crafts- 
man seriously  interested  in  the  great  pottery  in  Darm- 
stadt, where  his  own  designs  are  used.  He  has  always 
been  a  man  of  liberal  social  ideals  and  his  popularity 
among  the  people  of  Hesse  not  even  the  German  Revo- 
lution has  been  powerful  enough  to  overthrow.  His 
wife,  Princess  Eleanor,  when  I  knew  her,  was  dignified 
and  gracious  and  gifted  with  a  genuine  talent  for  dress. 
Prince  Henry  of  Prussia,  brother  of  the  Kaiser  and 
brother-in-law  of  the  Empress,  was  a  tall  and  hand- 
some man,  but  inclined  to  be — let  us  say — tempera- 
mental. At  times  he  was  overbearing  and  very  satiri- 
cal, and  at  others  friendly  and  charming.  His  wife 
was  a  small  woman,  simple  in  manner  and  of  a  kindly, 
unselfish  nature.  Princess  Alice,  daughter  of  Princess 
Victoria  of  Battenberg  and  wife  of  Prince  Andrew  of 
Greece,  was  a  beautiful  woman  but  unhappily  quite 

The  Castle  of  Frleberg,  which  stands  on  a  high  hill 
overlooking  a  low  valley  and  the  little  red-roofed 
town  of  Nauheim,  is  an  ancient  structure  not  particu- 
larly attractive  either  inside  or  out.  There  was  noth- 
ing much  for  Grand  Duke  Ernest's  guests  to  do  in  the 
way  of  amusement  except  to  walk  and  drive.     Of  the 


Empress  I  saw  rather  less  than  we  had  planned,  but 
sometimes  late  in  the  evenings  the  Emperor,  the  Em- 
press, and  myself  met  for  Russian  tea  and  for  familiar 
talks  before  bedtime. 

In  October  or  November  their  Majesties  returned 
to  Tsarskoe  Selo,  the  Empress  greatly  benefited  by 
her  cure.  How  happy  we  were  to  be  once  more  at 
home,  the  Empress  in  her  charming  boudoir  hung 
with  mauve  silk  and  fragrant  with  fresh  roses  and 
lilacs,  I  in  my  own  little  house  which  I  dearly  loved 
even  though  the  floors  were  so  cold.  The  opal-hued 
boudoir  of  the  Empress,  where  we  spent  a  great  deal 
of  our  time,  was  a  lovely,  quiet  place,  so  quiet  that  the 
footsteps  of  the  children  and  the  sound  of  their 
pianos  in  the  rooms  above  were  often  quite  audible. 
The  Empress  usually  lay  on  a  low  couch  over  which' 
hung  her  favorite  picture,  a  large  painting  of  the 
Holy  Virgin  asleep  and  surrounded  by  angels.  Beside 
her  couch  stood  a  table,  books  on  the  lower  shelf,  and 
on  the  upper  a  confusion  of  family  photographs, 
letters,  telegrams,  and  papers.  It  was  undeniably  a 
weakness  of  the  Empress  that  she  was  not  in  the  least 
systematic  about  her  correspondence.  Intimate  letters, 
it  is  true,  she  answered  promptly,  but  others  she  often 
left  for  weeks  untouched.  About  once  a  month  Made- 
leine, the  principal  maid  of  the  Empress,  would  invade 
the  boudoir  and  implore  her  mistress  to  clear  up  this 
heap  of  neglected  correspondence.  The  Empress 
usually  began  by  begging  to  be  left  alone,  but  in  the 
end  she  always  gave  in  to  the  importunities  of  the  in- 
valuable Madeleine.  The  Empress  of  course  had  a 
private  secretary,  Count  Rostovseff,  but  it  was  one  of 


her  peculiarities  that  she  preferred  to  handle  her  letters 
and  telegrams  before  her  secretary,  and  he  seemed  to 
accustom  himself  with  ease  to  her  dilatory  ways. 

It  would  be  difficult  to  imagine  two  people  more 
widely  different  on  points  of  this  kind  than  Nicholas  II 
and  Alexandra  Feodorovna.  Their  private  apart- 
ments were  very  close  together,  the  Emperor's  study, 
billiard  and  sitting  room  and  his  dressing  room  with 
a  fine  swimming  bath,  almost  adjoining  the  apartments 
of  the  Empress.  The  big  antechamber  to  the  study, 
well  furnished  with  chairs  and  tables  and  many  books 
and  magazines,  looked  out  on  a  court,  and  here  people 
who  had  business  with  the  Emperor  waited  until  they 
were  summoned  to  his  private  room.  The  study  was  a 
perfect  model  of  orderliness,  the  big  writing  table 
having  every  pen  and  pencil  exactly  in  its  place.  The 
large  calendar  also  with  appointments  written  care- 
fully in  the  Emperor's  own  hand  was  always  precisely 
in  its  proper  place.  The  Emperor  often  said  that  he 
wanted  to  be  able  to  go  into  his  study  in  the  dark  and 
put  his  hand  at  once  on  any  object  he  knew  to  be  there. 
The  Emperor  was  equally  particular  about  the  ap- 
pointments of  his  other  rooms.  The  dressing  table  in 
the  white-tiled  bathroom,  separated  from  the  sitting 
room  by  a  corridor  and  a  small  staircase,  was  as  much 
a  model  of  neatness  as  the  study  table,  nor  could  the 
Emperor  have  tolerated  valets  who  would  not  have 
kept  his  rooms  in  a  condition  of  perpetual  good  order. 
Of  course  the  ample  garderobes,  where  the  gowns, 
wraps,  hats,  and  jewels  of  the  Empress  and  the  in- 
numerable uniforms  of  the  Emperor  were  kept,  were 
always  in  order  because  they  were  in  the  care  of  ex- 


perienced  servants  and  were  rarely  if  ever  visited  by 
others  than  their  responsible  guardians. 

The  Emperor's  combined  billiard  and  sitting  room 
was  not  very  much  used  because  the  Emperor  spent 
most  of  his  leisure  hours  in  his  wife's  boudoir.  But  it 
was  in  the  billiard  room  that  the  Emperor  kept  his 
many  albums  of  photographs,  records  of  his  reign. 
These  albums  bound  in  green  with  the  Imperial  mono- 
gram, contained  photographs  taken  over  a  period  of 
twenty  years.  The  Empress  had  her  own  albums  full 
of  equally  priceless  records,  priceless  from  the  his- 
torian's standpoint  at  any  rate,  and  each  of  the  chil- 
dren had  their  own.  There  was  an  expert  photog- 
rapher attached  to  the  household  whose  only  duty  was 
to  develop  and  print  these  photographs,  which  were, 
in  almost  every  case,  mounted  by  the  royal  pho- 
tographer's own  hand.  This  work  used  to  be  done,  as 
a  rule,  on  rainy  days,  either  in  the  palace  or  on  board 
the  Standert.  The  Emperor,  as  usual,  was  neater 
about  this  work  of  pasting  photographic  prints  than 
any  other  member  of  the  household.  He  could  not  en- 
dure the  sight  of  the  least  drop  of  glue  on  a  table.  As 
might  be  expected  of  so  orderly  a  person  the  Emperor 
was  slow  about  almost  everything  he  did.  When  the 
Empress  wrote  a  letter  she  did  it  very  quickly,  hold- 
ing her  portfolio  on  her  knees  on  her  chaise  longue. 
When  the  Emperor  wrote  a  letter  it  was  a  matter  of 
hours  before  it  was  completed.  I  remember  once  at 
Livadia  the  Emperor  retiring  to  his  study  at  two 
o'clock  to  write  an  important  letter  to  his  mother.  At 
five,  the  Empress  afterwards  told  me,  the  letter  re- 
mained unfinished. 


The  private  life  of  the  Imperial  Family  in  these 
years  before  the  War  was  quiet  and  uneventful.  The 
Empress  never  left  her  room  before  noon,  it  being  her 
custom,  since  her  illness,  to  read  and  write  propped 
up  on  pillows  on  her  bed.  Luncheon  was  at  one 
o'clock,  the  Emperor,  his  aide-de-camp  for  the  day, 
the  children,  and  an  occasional  guest  attending.  After 
luncheon  the  Emperor  went  at  once  to  his  study  to 
work  or  to  receive  visitors.  Before  tea  time  he  usually 
went  for  a  brisk  walk  in  the  open. 

At  half  past  two  I  came  to  the  Empress,  and  if  the 
weather  was  fine  and  she  well  enough,  we  went  for  a 
drive  or  a  walk.  Otherwise  we  read  or  worked  until 
five,  when  the  family  tea  was  served.  Tea  was  a  meal 
in  which  there  was  never  the  slightest  variation.  Al- 
ways appeared  the  same  little  white-draped  table  with 
its  silver  service,  the  glasses  in  their  silver  standards, 
and  for  the  rest  simply  plates  of  hot  bread  and  butter 
and  a  few  English  biscuits.  Never  anything  new,  never 
any  surprises  in  the  way  of  cakes  or  sweetmeats.  The 
only  difference  in  the  Imperial  tea  table  came  in  Lent, 
when  butter  and  even  bread  made  with  butter  disap- 
peared, and  a  small  dish  or  two  of  nuts  was  substi- 
tuted. The  Empress  often  used  gently  to  complain, 
saying  that  other  people  had  much  more  interesting 
teas,  but  she  who  was  supposed  to  have  almost  un- 
limited power,  was  in  reality  quite  unable  to  change 
a  single  deadly  detail  of  the  routine  of  the  Russian 
Court,  where  things  had  been  going  on  almost  exactly 
the  same  for  generations.  The  same  arrangement  of 
furniture  in  the  state  rooms,  the  same  braziers  of  in- 
cense carried  by  footmen  in  the  long  corridors,  the 


same  house  messengers  in  archaic  costumes  of  red  and 
gold  with  ostrich-feathered  caps,  and  for  all  I  know  the 
same  plates  for  hot  bread  and  butter  on  the  same  tea 
table,  were  traditions  going  back  to  Catherine  the 
Great,  or  Peter,  or  farther  still  perhaps. 

Every  day  at  the  same  moment  the  door  opened  and 
the  Emperor  came  in,  sat  down  at  the  tea  table,  but- 
tered a  piece  of  bread,  and  began  to  sip  his  tea.  He 
drank  every  day  two  glasses,  never  more,  never  less, 
and  as  he  drank  he  glanced  over  his  telegrams  and 
newspapers.  The  children  were  the  only  ones  who 
found  tea  time  at  all  exciting.  They  were  dressed  for 
it  in  fresh  white  frocks  and  colored  sashes,  and  spent 
most  of  the  hour  playing  on  the  floor  with  toys  kept 
especially  for  them  in  a  corner  of  the  boudoir.  As  they 
grew  older  needlework  and  embroidery  were  substi- 
tuted for  the  toys,  the  Empress  disliking  to  see  her 
daughters  sitting  with  idle  hands. 

From  six  to  eight  the  Emperor  was  busy  with  his 
ministers,  and  he  usually  came  directly  from  his  study 
to  the  eight  o'clock  family  dinner.  This  was  never 
a  ceremonial  meal,  the  guests,  if  any,  being  relatives 
or  intimate  friends.  At  nine  the  Empress,  in  the  rich 
dinner  gown  and  jewels  she  always  wore,  even  on  the 
most  informal  evenings,  went  to  the  bedroom  of  the 
Tsarevitch  to  hear  him  say  his  prayers  and  to  tuck 
him  into  bed  for  the  night.  The  Emperor  worked 
until  eleven,  and  until  that  hour  the  Empress,  the  two 
older  Grand  Duchesses,  and  I  read,  had  a  little  music, 
or  otherwise  passed  the  time.  Perhaps  it  is  worth  re- 
cording that  bridge,  or  in  fact  any  other  card  games, 
we  never  played.     Nobody  in  the  family  cared  at  all 


for  cards,  and  only  a  little,  once  in  a  while,  for  dom- 
inoes. At  eleven  the  evening  tea  was  served,  and  after 
that  we  separated,  the  Emperor  to  write  his  diary 
for  the  day,  the  Empress  and  the  children  to  bed  and 
I  for  home.  All  his  life  the  Emperor  kept  a  daily 
record  of  events,  but  like  all  the  private  papers  of 
the  Imperial  Family,  the  diaries  were  seized  by  the 
Revolutionary  leaders  and  probably  (although  I  still 
hope  to  the  contrary)  destroyed.  The  diaries  of 
Nicholas  II,  apart  from  any  possible  sentimental  as- 
sociations, should  be  possessed  of  great  historical 

Monotonous  though  it  may  have  been,  the  private 
life  of  the  Emperor  and  his  family  was  one  of  cloud- 
less happiness.  Never,  in  all  the  twelve  years  of  my 
association  with  them,  did  I  hear  an  impatient  word 
or  surprise  an  angry  look  between  the  Emperor  and  the 
Empress.  To  him  she  was  always  "Sunny"  or  "Sweet- 
heart," and  he  came  into  her  quiet  room,  with  its  mauve 
hangings  and  its  fragrant  flowers,  as  into  a  haven  of 
rest  and  peace.  Politics  and  cares  of  state  were  left 
outside.  Never  were  we  allowed  to  speak  of  them. 
The  Empress,  on  her  part,  kept  her  own  troubles  to 
herself.  Never  did  she  yield  to  the  temptation  to  con- 
fide in  him  her  perplexities,  the  foolish  and  spiteful 
intrigues  of  her  ladies  in  waiting,  nor  even  lesser 
troubles  concerning  the  education  and  upbringing  of 
the  children.  "He  has  the  whole  nation  to  think 
about,"  she  often  said  to  me.  The  only  care  she 
brought  to  the  Emperor  was  the  ever  precarious  health 
of  Alexei,  but  this  the  whole  family  constantly  felt, 
and  it  had  to  be  spoken  of  very  often.     The  Imperial 


Family  was  absolutely  united  in  love  and  sympathy.  I 
like  to  remember  of  the  children,  who  adored  their 
parents,  that  they  never  felt  the  slightest  resentment 
of  their  mother's  attachment  for  me.  Sometimes  I 
think  the  little  Grand  Duchess  Marie,  who  especially 
worshipped  her  father,  felt  a  little  jealous  when  he 
invited  me,  as  he  often  did,  to  accompany  him  on  walks 
in  the  palace  gardens.  This  may  be  imagination,  and 
at  all  events  the  child's  slight  jealousy  never  inter- 
fered with  our  friendship. 

I  think  the  Emperor  liked  to  walk  with  me  because 
he  had  need  to  talk  to  someone  he  trusted  of  purely 
personal  cares  which  troubled  his  mind  and  which 
he  could  share  with  few.  Some  of  these  cares  were  of 
old  origin,  but  had  never  been  forgotten.  I  remember 
once  he  began  to  tell  me,  almost  without  any  preface, 
of  the  dreadful  disaster  which  attended  his  coronation, 
a  panic,  induced  by  bad  management  of  the  police,  in 
the  course  of  which  scores  of  people  were  crushed  to 
death.  At  the  very  hour  of  this  fatal  accident  the 
coronation  banquet  took  place,  and  the  Emperor  and 
Empress,  despite  their  grief  and  horror,  were  obliged 
to  take  part  in  it  exactly  as  though  nothing  had  hap- 
pened. The  Emperor  told  me  with  what  difficulty 
they  had  concealed  their  emotions,  often  having  to 
hold  their  serviettes  to  their  faces  to  hide  their  stream- 
ing tears. 

One  of  the  happiest  memories  of  my  life  at  Tsar- 
skoe  Selo  were  the  evenings  when  the  Emperor,  all 
cares  past  and  present  forgot,  sat  with  us  in  the  Em- 
press's boudoir  reading  aloud  from  the  work  of  Tol- 
stoy, Tourgenieff,  or  his  favorite  Gogol.  The  Emperor 


read  extremely  well,  with  a  pleasant  voice  and  a  re- 
markably clear  enunciation.  In  the  years  of  the  Great 
War,  so  full  of  anguish  and  apprehension,  the  Em- 
peror found  relief  in  reading  aloud  amusing  stories 
of  Averchenko  and  Tefify,  Russian  humorists  who  per- 
haps have  not  yet  been  translated  into  foreign  tongues. 
Before  the  War  the  Emperor  was  pictured  far  and 
wide  as  a  cruel  tyrant  deliberately  opposed  to  the  in- 
terests of  his  people,  while  the  Empress  appeared  as  a 
cold,  proud  woman,  a  malade  imaginaire,  wholly  in- 
different to  the  public  good.  Both  of  these  pictures 
are  cruelly  misrepresentative.  Nicholas  II  and  his 
wife  were  human  beings,  with  human  faults  and  fail- 
ings like  the  rest  of  us.  Both  had  quick  tempers,  not 
invariably  under  perfect  control.  With  the  Empress 
temper  was  a  matter  of  rapid  explosion  and  equally 
sudden  recovery.  She  was  often  for  the  moment 
furiously  angry  with  her  maids  whom  too  often  she  dis- 
covered in  insincerities  and  deceit.  The  Emperor's 
anger  was  slower  to  arouse  and  much  slower  to  pass. 
Ordinarily  he  was  the  kindest  and  simplest  of  men, 
not  in  the  least  proud  or  over-conscious  of  his  exalted 
position.  His  self-control  was  so  great  that  to  those 
who  knew  him  little  he  often  appeared  absent-minded 
and  indifferent.  The  fact  is  he  was  so  reserved  that 
he  seemed  to  fear  any  kind  of  self-revealment.  His 
mind  was  singularly  acute,  and  he  should  have  used  it 
more  accurately  to  gauge  the  characters  of  persons 
surrounding  him.  It  was  entirely  within  his  mental 
powers  to  sense  the  atmosphere  of  gossip  and  calumny 
that  surrounded  the  Court  during  the  last  years,  and 
certainly  it  was  within  his  power  to  put  a  stop  to  idle 


and  malicious  talk.  But  it  was  rarely  possible  to 
arouse  him  to  its  importance.  "What  high-minded 
person  would  believe  such  nonsense?"  was  his  usual 
comment.  Alas !  he  little  realized  how  few  were  the 
really  high-minded  people  who,  in  the  last  years  of 
the  Empire,  surrounded  his  person  or  that  of  the 

Sometimes  the  Emperor  found  himself  obliged  to 
take  cognizance  of  the  malicious  gossip  which  made 
the  Empress  desperately  unhappy  and  in  the  end 
poisoned  the  minds  of  thousands  of  really  well-mean- 
ing and  loyal  Russians.  Beginning  as  far  back  as  1909 
the  tide  of  treachery  had  begun  to  rise,  and  one  of  the 
earliest  of  those  responsible  for  the  final  disaster,  I 
regret  to  say,  was  a  woman  of  the  highest  aristocracy, 
one  long  trusted  and  affectionately  regarded  by  the 
Imperial  Family.  Mile.  Sophie  Tutcheff,  a  protegee 
of  the  Grand  Duchess  Serge,  and  a  lady  who  was  a 
general  over-governess  to  the  children,  was  perhaps 
the  first  of  all  the  intriguing  courtiers  of  whom  I  have 
positive  knowledge.  Mile.  Tutcheff  belonged  to  one  of 
the  oldest  and  most  powerful  families  in  Moscow,  and 
she  was  strongly  under  the  influence  of  certain  bigoted 
priests,  especially  that  of  her  cousin.  Bishop  Vladimir 
Putiata,  who  for  ten  years  had  lived  in  Rome  as  of- 
ficial representative  of  the  Russian  Church.  It  was 
he,  I  firmly  believe,  who  inspired  in  Mile.  Tutcheff 
her  antipathy  to  the  Empress  and  her  evil  reports  con- 
cerning the  life  of  the  Imperial  Family.  Mile.  Tut- 
cheff, either  of  her  own  accord  or  encouraged  by  her 
relative,  was  continually  opposed  to  what  she  called 
the  English  upbringing  of  the  Imperial  children.     She 


wished  to  change  the  whole  system,  make  it  entirely 
Slav  and  free  from  any  imported  ideas. 

Mile.  Tutcheff  was,  I  believe,  the  first  person  to 
create  what  afterwards  became  the  international  Ras- 
putine  scandal.  At  the  time  of  her  residence  in  the 
palace  at  Tsarskoe  Selo  Rasputine's  influence  had 
scarcely  been  felt  at  all  by  the  Emperor  or  Empress, 
although  he  was  an  intimate  friend  of  other  members 
of  the  Romanoff  family.  But  Mile.  Tutcheff  spread 
abroad  a  series  of  the  most  amazing  falsehoods  in 
which  Rasputine  figured  as  a  constant  visitor  and  vir- 
tually the  spiritual  guardian  of  the  Imperial  Family. 
I  do  not  wish  to  repeat  these  stories,  but  merely  to 
give  an  idea  of  their  preposterous  nature  I  will  say 
that  she  represented  Rasputine  as  having  the  freedom 
of  the  nurseries  and  even  the  bedchambers  of  the 
young  Grand  Duchesses.  According  to  tales  pur- 
ported to  have  their  origin  with  her,  Rasputine  was 
in  the  habit  of  bathing  the  children  and  afterward 
talking  with  them,  sitting  on  their  beds. 

I  do  not  think  the  Emperor  believed  all  these  ru- 
mors, but  he  did  believe  that  Mile.  Tutcheff  was  guilty 
of  malicious  gossip  of  his  family,  and  he  therefore 
summoned  her  to  his  study  and  rebuked  her  severely, 
asking  her  how  she  dared  to  spread  idle  and  untrue 
stories  about  his  children.  Of  course  she  denied  hav- 
ing done  anything  of  the  sort,  but  she  admitted  that 
she  had  spoken  ill  of  Rasputine.  "But  you  do  not 
know  the  man,"  protested  the  Emperor,  "and  in  any 
case,  if  you  had  criticisms  to  make  of  anyone  known 
to  this  household  you  should  have  made  them  to  us 
and  not  to  the  public."     Mile.  Tutcheff  admitted  that 


she  did  not  know  Rasputine,  and  when  the  Emperor 
suggested  that  before  she  spoke  evil  of  him  it  might 
be  well  for  her  to  meet  him  she  haughtily  replied: 
"Never  will  I  meet  him." 

For  a  short  time  after  this  Mile.  Tutcheff  remained 
at  Court,  but  being  a  rather  stupid  and  very  obstinate 
woman,  she  continued  her  campaign  of  intrigue.  She 
managed  to  influence  Princess  Oblensky,  long  a  favor- 
ite lady  in  waiting,  until  she  entirely  estranged  her 
from  the  Empress.  She  even  began  to  speak  to  the 
children  against  their  own  mother,  until  the  Empress, 
who  felt  herself  powerless  against  the  woman,  actu- 
ally refused  to  visit  the  nurseries,  and  when  she  wanted 
her  children  near  her  sent  for  them  to  come  to  her  pri- 
vate apartments.  Too  well  she  knew  the  Emperor's 
extreme  reluctance  to  dismiss  any  person  connected 
with  the  Court,  and  she  waited  in  silent  pain  until  the 
scandal  grew  to  such  proportions  that  the  Emperor 
could  no  longer  ignore  it.  Then  Mile.  Tutcheff  was 
summarily  dismissed  and  sent  back  to  her  home  in 

So  powerful  was  the  influence  of  the  Tutcheff  family 
that  this  incident  was  magnified  beyond  all  proper  pro- 
portions, and  the  former  over-governess  of  the  Im- 
perial children  was  represented  as  a  poor  victim  of 
Rasputine,  a  man  whom  she  had  never  seen  and  who 
probably  never  knew  of  her  existence.  The  last  I  ever 
heard  of  Mile.  Tutcheff,  who,  by  the  way,  was  a  niece 
of  the  esteemed  poet  Tutcheff,  she  was  living  in  Mos- 
cow, under  the  special  protection  of  the  Bolshevik 
Government.  Her  cousin,  the  former  Bishop  Vla- 
dimir Putiata,  I  understand  has  for  several  years  been 


a  great  favorite  of  those  Communists  who  have  prose- 
cuted such  brave  and  fearless  opponents  of  church 
despoilment  as  the  unhappy  Patriarch  Tikhon  and 

Of  the  Emperor  I  think  it  ought  to  be  said  that  his 
education,  under  his  governor,  General  Bogdanovitch, 
was  calculated  to  weaken  the  will  of  any  boy  and  to 
encourage  in  Nicholas  II  his  natural  reserve  and  what 
might  be  called  indolence  of  mind.  But  this  I  know 
of  him  that  after  his  marriage  he  became  much  more 
resolute  of  temper  and  much  more  gentle  of  manner 
than  other  members  of  his  family.  It  is  certain  that 
he  loved  Russia  and  the  Russian  people  with  his  whole 
soul,  and  yet,  under  the  political  system  for  centuries 
in  force,  he  had  often  to  leave  to  people  whom  he 
knew  only  superficially  many  important  details  of  gov- 
ernment. Unquestionably  it  was  a  fault  of  the  Em- 
peror that  he  was  over-confident,  and  only  too  ready 
to  believe  what  was  told  him  by  people  whom  he  per- 
sonally liked.  He  was  impulsive  in  most  of  his  acts 
and  sometimes  made  important  nominations  on  the  im- 
pression of  a  moment.  It  goes  without  saying  that 
many  of  his  ofllicials  took  advantage  of  this  over- 
confidence  and  sometimes  acted  in  his  name  without 
his  knowledge  or  authority. 

Only  too  well  for  her  own  happiness  and  peace  of 
mind  did  the  Empress  Alexandra  Feodorovna  under- 
stand her  husband.  She  knew  his  kind  heart,  his  love 
for  his  country  and  his  people,  but  she  knew  also  how 
easily  influenced  he  could  be  by  men  in  whom  he  re- 
posed confidence.  She  knew  that  too  often  his  acts 
were  governed  by  the  last  person  he  happened  to  con- 


suit.  But  for  all  this  I  wish  to  say  that  the  Emperor 
never  appeared  to  his  friends  as  a  weak  man.  He 
had  qualities  of  leadership  with  very  limited  oppor- 
tunities to  exercise  those  qualities.  In  his  own  domain 
he  was  "every  inch  an  Emperor."  The  whole  Court, 
from  the  Grand  Dukes  down  to  the  last  petty  official 
and  intriguing  maid  of  honor,  recognized  this  and 
stood  in  real  awe  of  their  Sovereign.  I  have  a  keen 
recollection  of  an  episode  at  dinner  in  which  a  certain 
young  Grand  Duke  ventured  to  utter  an  ill-founded 
grievance  against  a  distinguished  general  who  had 
dared  to  rebuke  his  Highness  in  public.  The  Em- 
peror instantly  recognized  this  as  a  mere  display  of 
temper  and  egoism,  and  his  contempt  and  indignation 
knew  no  bounds.  He  literally  turned  white  with 
anger,  and  the  unfortunate  young  Grand  Duke 
trembled  before  him  like  an  offending  servant.  After- 
wards the  still  indignant  Emperor  said  to  me:  "He 
may  thank  God  that  the  Empress  and  you  were  pres- 
ent. Otherwise  I  could  not  have  held  myself  in  hand." 
Towards  the  end  of  the  Russian  tragedy  in  19 17  the 
Emperor  had  learned  to  hold  himself  almost  too  well 
in  hand,  to  subdue  and  to  conceal  the  commanding  per- 
sonality of  which  he  was  naturally  possessed.  It 
would  have  been  far  better  if  he  had  used  his  per- 
sonality and  his  great  charm  of  manner  to  offset  the 
tide  of  intrigue  and  revolution  which  in  the  midst  of  a 
world  war  overcame  the  Empire. 

As  long  as  I  knew  him,  whether  in  the  privacy  of 
the  palace  at  Tsarskoe  Selo,  in  the  informal  life  of 
the  Crimea,  on  the  Imperial  yacht,  in  public  or  in  pri- 
vate, I  was  always  conscious  of  the  strong  personality 


of  the  Emperor.  Everybody  felt  it.  I  can  instance 
one  occasion  at  a  great  reception  of  the  Tauride 
Zemstvo  when  two  men  present  were  deliberately  re- 
solved to  behave  in  a  disrespectful  manner  to  the  Em- 
peror. But  the  moment  he  entered  the  room  these 
men  found  themselves  completely  overpowered. 
Their  manner  changed  and  they  showed  in  every  sub- 
sequent word  and  action  their  shame  and  regret.  At 
one  time  a  group  of  Social  Revolutionaries  were  able 
to  put  on  a  cruiser  which  the  Emperor  was  to  visit  a 
sailor  charged  with  his  Sovereign's  assassination.  But 
when  the  opportunity  came  the  man  literally  could  not 
do  the  deed.  For  his  "weakness"  this  poor  wretch 
was  afterwards  murdered  by  members  of  his  party. 

The  character  of  the  Empress  was  quite  different 
from  that  of  her  husband.  She  was  less  lovable  to 
the  many,  and  yet  of  a  stronger  fiber.  Where  he  was 
impulsive  she  was  usually  cautious  and  thoughtful. 
Where  he  was  over-optimistic  she  was  inclined  to  be 
a  bit  suspicious,  especially  of  the  weak  and  self-in- 
dulgent aristocracy.  It  was  generally  believed  that  the 
Empress  was  difficult  to  approach,  but  this  was  never 
true  of  sincere  and  disinterested  souls.  Suffering  al- 
ways made  a  strong  appeal  to  the  Empress,  and  when- 
ever she  knew  of  anyone  sad  or  in  trouble  her  heart 
was  instantly  touched.  Few  people,  even  in  Russia, 
ever  knew  how  much  the  Empress  did  for  the  poor,  the 
sick,  and  the  helpless.  She  was  a  born  nurse,  and  from 
her  earliest  accession  took  an  interest  in  hospitals  and 
in  nursing  quite  foreign  to  native  Russian  ideas.  She 
not  only  visited  the  sick  herself,  in  hospitals,  in  homes, 
but  she  enormously  increased  the  efficiency  of  the  hos- 


pital  system  in  Russia.  Out  of  her  own  private  funds 
the  Empress  founded  and  supported  two  excellent 
schools  for  training  nurses,  especially  in  the  care  of 
children.  These  schools  were  founded  on  the  best 
English  models,  and  were  under  the  general  super- 
vision of  the  famous  Dr.  Rauchfuss  and  of  head  nurse 
Miss  Puchkine,  a  near  relative  of  the  great  poet  Puch- 
kine.  I  could  enlarge  at  length  on  the  many  construc- 
tive philanthropies  of  the  Empress,  paid  for  by  her- 
self, hospitals,  homes,  and  orphanages,  planned  in  al- 
most every  detail  by  herself,  and  constantly  visited  and 
inspected.  After  the  Japanese  War  she  built  a  Hotel 
des  Invalides,  in  which  hundreds  of  disabled  men  were 
taught  trades.  She  also  built  a  number  of  cottages 
with  gardens  for  wounded  soldiers  and  their  families, 
most  of  these  war  philanthropies  being  under  the 
supervision  of  a  trusted  friend.  Colonel  the  Count 
Shoulenbourg  of  the  Empress's  favorite  Lancers. 

The  Empress  possessed  a  heart  and  a  mind  utterly 
incapable  of  dishonesty  or  deceit,  consequently  she 
could  never  tolerate  either  in  other  people.  This 
naturally  got  her  heartily  disliked  by  people  of  society 
to  whom  deceit  was  a  matter  of  long  practice.  An- 
other quality  condemned  in  the  Empress  because  en- 
tirely misunderstood,  was  her  care  as  to  expenses. 
Brought  up  in  the  comparative  poverty  of  a  small  Ger- 
man Court,  the  Empress  never  lost  the  habit  of  a 
cautious  use  of  money.  Quite  as  in  private  families, 
where  economy  is  an  absolute  necessity,  the  clothing 
of  the  young  Grand  Duchesses  when  outgrown  by  the 
elders  were  handed  down  to  the  younger  girls.  In  the 
matter  of  selecting  gifts  for  guests,  for  relatives,  or 


at  holidays  for  the  suite,  the  Emperor  simply  selected 
from  the  rich  assortment  sent  to  the  palace  objects 
which  best  pleased  him.  The  Empress,  on  the  other 
hand,  always  examined  the  price  cards  and  considered 
before  choosing  whether  the  jewel  or  the  fur  or  the 
bijou,  whatever  it  was,  was  worth  what  was  asked  for 
it.  The  difference  between  the  Emperor  and  the  Em- 
press in  regard  to  money  was  a  difference  in  experi- 
ence. The  Emperor,  all  his  life,  had  had  everything 
he  wanted  without  ever  paying  a  single  ruble  for  any- 
thing. He  never  had  any  money,  never  needed  any 
money.  I  can  recall  but  one  solitary  instance  in  which 
the  Tsar  of  all  the  Russias  ever  even  felt  the  need  of 
touching  a  kopeck  of  his  illimitable  riches.  It  was  in 
191 1  when  their  Majesties  began  to  attend  services  at 
the  Feodorovsky  Cathedral  at  Tsarskoe  Selo.  In  this 
church  it  was  the  custom  to  pass  through  the  congre- 
gations alms  basins  into  which  everyone,  of  course, 
dropped  a  contribution,  large  or  small.  The  Emperor 
alone  was  entirely  penniless,  and  embarrassed  by  his 
unique  situation  he  made  a  representation  to  the 
proper  authorities,  after  which  at  exact  monthly  inter- 
vals he  was  furnished  with  four  gold  pieces  for  the 
alms  basin  of  the  Feodorovsky  Cathedral.  If  he  hap- 
pened to  attend  an  extra  service  he  had  to  borrow  his 
contribution  from  the  Empress. 

But  if  the  Emperor  carried  no  money  in  his  pockets 
it  was  well  enough  known  that  he  commanded  vast 
sums,  and  it  was  characteristic  of  the  sycophants  who 
surrounded  him  that  he  was  constantly  importuned  for 
"loans,"  for  money  to  help  out  gambling  or  otherwise 
impecunious  officers  who,  aware  of  the  Emperor's  great 


love  for  the  army,  played  on  it  to  their  advantage. 
One  day  when  the  Emperor  was  taking  his  usual  brisk 
walk  through  the  grounds  before  tea  a  young  officer 
who  had  managed  to  conceal  himself  in  the  shrubbery 
sprang  out,  threw  himself  on  his  knees,  and  threatened 
to  kill  himself  on  the  spot  unless  the  Emperor  granted 
him  a  sum  of  money  to  clear  the  desperate  wretch  of 
some  reckless  deed.  The  Emperor  was  frightfully  en- 
raged— but  he  sent  the  man  the  money  demanded. 

The  Empress  had  always  handled  money  and  knew 
quite  well  how  to  spend  it  wisely.  From  the  depths 
of  her  honest  soul  she  despised  the  use  of  money  to 
buy  loyalty  and  devotion.  For  a  long  time  after  my 
first  formal  service  as  maid  of  honor,  with  the  usual 
salary,  I  received  from  her  Majesty  literally  nothing 
at  all.  From  my  parents  I  had  the  income  from  my 
dowry,  four  hundred  rubles  a  month,  a  sum  entirely 
inadequate  to  pay  the  running  expenses  of  my  small 
establishment  with  its  three  absolutely  indispensable 
servants,  and  at  the  same  time  to  dress  myself  prop- 
erly as  a  member  of  the  Court  circle.  The  Empress's 
brother.  Grand  Duke  Ernest  of  Hesse,  was  one  of 
the  first  of  her  intimates  to  point  out  to  her  the  diffi- 
culties of  my  position,  and  to  suggest  to  her  that  I 
be  given  a  position  at  Court.  The  suggestion  was  not 
welcomed  by  Alexandra  Feodorovna.  "Is  it  not  pos- 
sible for  the  Empress  of  Russia  to  have  one  friend?" 
she  cried  bitterly,  and  she  reminded  her  brother  that 
her  relation  and  mine  were  not  without  precedent  in 
Russia.  The  Empress  Dowager  had  a  friend.  Prin- 
cess Oblensky;  also  the  Empress  Marie  Alexandrovna, 
wife  of  Alexander  III,  had  in  Mme.  Malzoff  an  In- 


timate  associate,  and  neither  of  these  women  had  had 
any  Court  functions.  Why  should  she  not  cherish  a 
friendship  free  from  all  material  considerations? 
However,  after  her  brother  and  also  Count  Fred- 
ericks, Minister  of  the  Court,  had  pointed  out  to  her 
that  it  was  scarcely  proper  that  the  Empress's  best 
friend  and  confidante  should  wear  made-over  gowns 
and  go  home  from  the  palace  on  foot  at  midnight 
because  she  had  no  money  for  cabs,  the  Empress  be- 
gan to  relent  a  little.  At  first  her  change  of  attitude 
took  the  form  of  useful  gifts  bestowed  at  Christmas 
and  Easter,  dress  patterns,  furs,  gloves,  and  the  like. 
Finally  one  day  she  asked  me  to  discuss  with  her  the 
vv'hole  subject  of  my  expenses.  Making  me  sit  down 
with  pencil  and  paper,  she  commanded  me  to  set  forth 
a  complete  budget  of  my  monthly  expenditures,  ex- 
actly what  I  paid  for  food,  service,  light,  fire,  and 
clothing.  The  domestic  budget,  apart  from  my  small 
income,  came  to  two  hundred  and  seventy  rubles  a 
month,  and  at  the  orders  of  the  Empress  I  was  there- 
after furnished  monthly  with  the  exact  sum  of  two 
hundred  and  seventy  rubles.  It  never  occurred  to 
her  to  name  the  amount  in  round  numbers  of  three 
hundred  rubles.  Nor  did  it  occur  to  me  except  as  a 
matter  of  faint  amusement.  Of  course  I  was  often 
embarrassed  for  money  even  after  I  became  possessed 
of  this  regular  income,  and  even  later  when  it  was 
augmented  by  two  thousand  rubles  a  year  for  rent, 
and  it  often  wrung  my  heart  to  have  to  say  no  to  ap- 
peals for  money.  I  knew  that  I  appeared  selfish  and 
hard-hearted.  The  truth  was  that  I  was  simply 


THE  year  19 12,  although  destined  to  end  in  the 
almost  fatal  illness  of  the  Tsarevitch,  began  hap- 
pily for  the  Imperial  Family.  Peaceful  and  busy  were 
the  winter  and  spring,  the  Emperor  engaged  as  usual 
with  the  affairs  of  the  Empire,  the  Empress,  as  far  as 
her  health  permitted,  superintending  the  education  of 
her  children,  and  all  of  them  busy  with  their  books  and 
their  various  tutors.  Of  the  education  and  upbringing 
of  the  children  of  Nicholas  II  and  the  Empress  Alex- 
andra Feodorovna  it  should  be  said  that  while  nothing 
was  omitted  to  make  them  most  loyal  Russians,  the 
educational  methods  employed  were  cosmopolitan. 
They  had  French,  Swiss,  and  English  tutors,  but  all 
their  studies  were  under  the  superintendence  of  a  Rus- 
sian, the  highly  cultured  M.  Petroff,  while  for  certain 
branches  such  as  physics  and  natural  science  they  were 
privately  instructed  in  the  gymnasium  of  Tsarskoe  Selo. 
The  first  teacher  of  the  Imperial  children,  she  from 
whom  they  received  their  elementary  education,  was 
Miss  Schneider,  familiarly  called  "Trina,"  a  native  of 
one  of  the  Baltic  states  of  the  Empire.  Miss 
Schneider  first  came  into  service,  years  before  the  mar- 
riage of  the  Emperor  and  Empress,  as  instructor  in 
the  Russian  language  to  Elizabeth,  Grand  Duchess 
Serge.     Afterwards  she  taught  Russian  to  the  young 

Empress,  and  was  retained  at  Court  as  reader  to  her 



Majesty.  "Trina"  was  rather  a  difficult  person  in 
some  ways,  taking  every  advantage  of  her  privileged 
position,  but  she  was  undeniably  valuable  and  was 
heart  and  soul  in  her  devotion  to  the  family.  She  ac- 
companied them  to  Siberia  and  there  disappeared  with 

Perhaps  the  most  valued  of  the  instructors  was  M. 
Pierre  Gilliard,  whose  book  "Thirteen  Years  at  the 
Russian  Court"  has  been  published  in  several 
languages  and  has  been  very  well  received.  M.  Gil- 
liard, a  Swiss  gentlemen  of  many  accomplishments, 
came  first  to  Tsarskoe  Selo  as  teacher  of  French  to 
the  young  Grand  Duchesses.  Afterwards  he  became 
tutor  to  the  Tsarevitch.  M.  Gilliard  lived  in  the 
palace,  and  enjoyed  to  the  fullest  extent  the  confidence 
and  affection  of  their  Majesties.  Mr.  Gibbs,  the 
English  tutor,  was  also  a  great  favorite.  Both  of  these 
men  followed  the  family  into  exile  and  remained  faith- 
ful and  devoted  friends  until  forcibly  expelled  by  the 

In  his  book  M.  Gilliard  has  recorded  that  he  was 
never  able  to  teach  the  Grand  Duchesses  to  speak  a 
fluent  French.  This  is  true  because  the  languages 
used  in  the  family  were  English  and  Russian,  and 
the  children  never  became  interested  in  any  other 
languages.  "Trina"  was  supposed  to  teach  them 
German  but  she  had  less  success  with  that  language 
than  M.  Gilliard  with  French.  The  Emperor  and 
Empress  spoke  English  almost  exclusively,  and  so  did 
the  Empress's  brother,  the  Grand  Duke  of  Hesse  and 
his  family.  Among  themselves  the  children  usually 
spoke  Russian.     The  Tsarevitch  alone,  thanks  to  his 



constant  association  with  M.  Gilliard,  mastered  the 
French  language. 

Every  detail  of  the  education  of  her  children  was 
supervised  by  the  Empress,  who  often  sat  with  them 
for  hours  together  in  the  schoolroom.  She  herself 
taught  them  sewing  and  needlework,  her  best  pupil 
being  Tatiana,  who  had  an  extraordinary  talent  for 
all  kinds  of  handwork.  She  not  only  made  beautiful 
blouses  and  other  garments,  embroideries  and  crochets, 
but  she  was  able  on  occasions  to  arrange  her  mother's 
long  hair,  and  to  dress  her  as  well  as  a  professional 
maid.  Not  that  the  Empress  required  as  much  dress- 
ing as  the  ordinary  woman  of  rank  and  wealth.  She 
had  that  kind  of  Victorian  modesty  that  forbade  any 
intrusion  on  the  privacy  of  her  dressing  room.  All 
that  her  maids  were  allowed  to  do  was  to  dress  her 
hair,  fasten  her  boots,  and  put  on  her  gown  and 
jewels.  The  Empress  had  great  taste  in  dress  and 
always  chose  her  jewels  to  finish  rather  than  to 
ornament  her  costumes.  "Only  rubies  to-day,"  she 
would  command,  or  "pearls  and  sapphires  with  this 

The  Empress  and  the  children  have  been  repre- 
sented as  surrounded  by  German  servants,  but  this 
accusation  is  absolutely  false.  The  chief  woman  of 
the  household  was  Mme.  Geringer,  a  Russian  lady 
who  came  daily  to  the  palace,  ordered  gowns,  did 
all  necessary  shopping,  paid  bills,  and  attended  to  any 
business  required  by  the  Empress.  The  chief  maid 
of  the  Empress  was  Madeleine  Zanotti,  of  English 
and  Italian  parentage,  whose  home  before  she  came 
to  Tsarskoe  Selo  was  in  England.     Madeleine  was  a 


woman  of  middle  age,  very  clever,  and  as  usual  with 
one  in  her  position,  inclined  to  be  tyrannical.  Made- 
leine had  charge  of  all  the  gowns  and  jewels  of  the 
Empress,  and  as  I  think  I  have  related,  she  was  often 
critical  of  her  mistress's  indolent  habits  In  regard  to 
correspondence,  etc.  A  second  maid  was  Tutelberg, 
"Toodles,"  a  rather  slow  and  quiet  girl  from  the  Bal- 
tic. She  and  Madeleine  were  mortal  enemies,  but 
they  agreed  on  one  thing  at  least,  and  that  was  that 
they  would  not  wear  caps  and  aprons.  The  Empress 
good-naturedly  acquiesced  and  permitted  simple  black 
gowns  and  ribbon  bows  in  the  hair  for  her  chief  maids. 
There  were  three  under  maids,  all  Russians,  and  all 
perfectly  devoted  to  the  Imperial  Family.  These  girls, 
who  wore  the  regulation  caps  and  white  aprons,  cared 
for  the  rooms  of  the  Empress  and  the  children.  All 
the  maids,  when  the  Revolution  came,  remained  faith- 
ful to  the  family,  and  one  of  them,  as  I  shall  tell  later, 
performed  the  dangerous  sei-vice  of  smuggling  letters 
in  and  out  of  Siberia.  One  girl,  Anna  Demidoff, 
shared  the  fate  of  the  family  in  191 8. 

The  Emperor  had  three  valets,  one  of  whom,  Shal- 
feroff,  who  had  served  Alexander  III,  turned  spy 
during  the  Revolution.  Another,  old  Raziesh,  also  a 
former  servant  of  Alexander  III,  died  in  the  service 
of  Nicholas  II,  and  was  replaced  by  Chemoduroff,  a 
fine  and  very  loyal  man.  The  third  valet's  name  was 
Katoff.  All  three,  as  their  names  testify,  were  Rus- 
sians, as  were  also  the  three  men  in  the  service 
of  the  Empress,  Leo  and  Kondratief,  both  of  whom 
died  during  the  early  days  of  the  Revolution,  and 
Volkoff,   who   followed  the   Royal  exiles   as   far   into 


Siberia    as    he    was    permitted    by    the    Provisional 

The  children's  nurses  were  Russians,  the  head 
nurse  being  Marie  Vechniakoff.  Others  I  remember 
well  were  Alexandra,  nicknamed  "Shoura,"  a  great 
favorite  with  the  girls,  Anna  and  Lisa,  kind,  faith- 
ful girls  who  spoke  no  word  of  any  language  except 
Russian.  There  were,  of  course,  hundreds  of  house 
servants,  and  to  my  knowledge  most,  if  not  all  of 
them,  were  Russians.  The  chef  was  a  Frenchman, 
Cubat,  a  very  great  man  in  his  profession.  Sometimes, 
when  an  especially  splendid  dish  had  been  prepared, 
Cubat  was  wont  to  introduce  it,  as  it  were,  by  stand- 
ing magnificently  in  the  doorway,  clad  in  immaculate 
white  linen,  until  the  dish  was  served.  Cubat  became 
very  wealthy  in  the  Tsar's  service,  and  now  lives  hap- 
pily and  luxuriously  in  his  native  France.  He  was,  I 
believe,  truly  loyal  to  the  Imperial  Family,  which  is 
more  than  can  be  said  for  most  of  the  servants.  Their 
children  were  educated  at  the  expense  of  the  Emperor, 
and  the  majority,  instead  of  choosing  useful  trades, 
elected  to  go  to  the  universities,  where  they  nearly  all 
became  Revolutionists.  In  my  father's  opinion  this 
was  due  to  the  fact  that  the  Russian  universities  and 
higher  schools  offered  little  if  any  technical  training. 
Recognizing  this,  the  Empress  created  in  Petrograd 
a  technical  school  for  boys  and  girls  of  the  whole  Em- 
pire. In  this  school  the  students  were  trained  to  be- 
come teachers  in  many  useful  handicrafts,  and  in  addi- 
tion to  this  normal  academy  the  Empress  established  in 
many  governments  schools  where  boys  and  girls  were 
perfected  in  the  beautiful  peasant  arts  of  embroidery, 


dyeing,  carving,  and  painting.  I  give  these  details 
because  I  think  it  only  just  to  offset  with  facts  the 
lying  slanders  of  sensational  writers  who  could  not 
possibly  have  known  anything  of  the  intimate  life  of 
the  Imperial  Family  of  Russia  but  who  have  sub- 
stituted propaganda  for  truth. 

None  of  these  sensational  writers  knew  or  tried  to 
know  how  simple,  not  to  say  rigorous,  was  the  regime 
followed  by  the  Imperial  children.  All  of  them,  even 
the  delicate  little  Tsarevitch,  slept  in  large,  well-aired 
nurseries,  on  hard  camp  beds  without  pillows  and  with 
the  least  possible  allowance  of  bedclothing.  They 
had  cold  baths  every  morning  and  warm  ones  only  at 
night.  As  a  consequence  of  this  simple  life  their  man- 
ners were  unassuming  and  natural  without  a  single 
trace  of  hauteur.  Although  in  19 12  the  four  girls 
were  rapidly  approaching  wom.anhood^ — Olga  was  in 
her  eighteenth  year  and  Tatiana  was  nearly  sixteen — 
their  parents  continued  to  regard  them  as  children. 
The  two  older  girls  were  spoken  of  as  "the  big  ones," 
and  were  given  many  grown-up  privileges,  as  for  ex- 
ample, concerts  and  the  theater  to  which  the  Em- 
peror himself  escorted  them.  The  two  younger  Grand 
Duchesses  and  the  Tsarevitch,  "the  little  ones,"  were 
still  in  the  nursery. 

In  the  darkness  of  the  mystery  which  surrounds  the 
fate  of  these  innocent  children  it  is  with  poignant  emo- 
tion that  I  recall  them  as  they  appeared,  so  full  of  life 
and  joy,  in  those  distant,  yet  incredibly  near,  days  be- 
fore the  World  War  and  the  downfall  of  Imperial 
Russia.  Of  the  four  girls,  Olga  and  Marie  were  es- 
sentially Russian,  altogether  Romanoff  in  their  inheri- 


tance.  Olga  was  perhaps  the  cleverest  of  them  all, 
her  mind  being  so  quick  to  grasp  ideas,  so  absorbent 
of  knowledge  that  she  learned  almost  without  applica- 
tion or  close  study.  Her  chief  characteristics,  I  should 
say,  were  a  strong  will  and  a  singularly  straightfor- 
ward habit  of  thought  and  action.  Admirable  qual- 
ities in  a  woman,  these  same  characteristics  are  often 
trying  in  childhood,  and  Olga  as  a  little  girl  sometimes 
showed  herself  wilful  and  even  disobedient.  She  had 
a  hot  temper  which,  however,  she  early  learned  to 
keep  under  control,  and  had  she  been  allowed  to  live 
her  natural  life  she  would,  I  believe,  have  become  a 
woman  of  influence  and  distinction.  Extremely  pretty, 
with  brilliant  blue  eyes  and  a  lovely  complexion,  Olga 
resembled  her  father  In  the  fineness  of  her  features, 
especially  in  her  delicate,  slightly  tipped  nose. 

Marie  and  Anastasie  were  also  blonde  types  and 
very  attractive  girls.  Marie  had  splendid  eyes  and 
rose-red  cheeks.  She  was  inclined  to  be  stout  and  she 
had  rather  thick  lips  which  detracted  a  little  from 
her  beauty.  Marie  had  a  naturally  sweet  disposition 
and  a  very  good  mind.  All  three  of  these  girls  were 
more  or  less  of  the  tomboy  type.  They  had  something 
of  the  innate  brusqueness  of  their  Romanoff  ancestors, 
which  displayed  itself  in  a  tendency  to  mischief.  An- 
astasie, a  sharp  and  clever  child,  was  a  very  monkey 
for  jokes,  some  of  them  at  times  almost  too  practical 
for  the  enjoyment  of  others.  I  remember  once  when 
the  family  was  in  their  Polish  estate  in  winter  the 
children  were  amusing  themselves  at  snowballing. 
The  imp  which  sometimes  seemed  to  possess  Anastasie 
led  her  to  throw  a  stone  rolled  in  a  snowball  straight 


THE  STANDERT.     Photograph  by  the  Empress. 


at  her  dearly  loved  sister  Tatiana.  The  missile  struck 
the  poor  girl  fairly  in  the  face  with  such  force  that  she 
fell  senseless  to  the  ground.  The  grief  and  horror  of 
Anastasie  lasted  for  many  days  and  permanently  cured 
her  of  her  worst  propensities  to  practical  jokes. 

Tatiana  was  almost  a  perfect  reincarnation  of  her 
mother.  Taller  and  slenderer  than  her  sisters,  she 
had  the  soft,  refined  features  and  the  gentle,  reserved 
manners  of  her  English  ancestry.  Kindly  and  sym- 
pathetic of  disposition,  she  displayed  towards  her 
younger  sisters  and  her  brother  such  a  protecting 
spirit  that  they,  in  fun,  nicknamed  her  "the  governess." 
Of  all  the  Grand  Duchesses  Tatiana  was  with  the 
people  the  most  popular,  and  I  suspect  in  their  hearts 
she  was  the  most  dearly  loved  of  her  parents.  Cer- 
tainly she  was  a  different  type  from  the  others  even  in 
appearance,  her  hair  being  a  rich  brown  and  her  eyes 
so  darkly  gray  that  in  the  evening  they  seemed  quite 
black.  Of  all  the  girls  Tatiana  was  most  social  in  her 
tastes.  She  liked  society  and  she  longed  pathetically 
for  friends.  But  friends  for  these  high  born  but  un- 
fortunate girls  were  very  difficult  to  find.  The  Empress 
dreaded  for  her  daughters  the  companionship  of  over- 
sophisticated  young  women  of  the  aristocracy,  whose 
minds,  even  in  the  schoolroom,  were  fed  with  the 
foolish  and  often  vicious  gossip  of  a  decadent  society. 
The  Empress  even  discouraged  association  with 
cousins  and  near  relatives,  many  of  whom  were  un- 
wholesomely  precocious  in  their  outlook  on  life. 

I  would  not  give  the  impression  that  these  young 
daughters  of  the  Emperor  and  Empress  were  forced 
to  lead  dull  and  uneventful  lives.     They  were  allowed 


to  have  their  little  preferences  for  this  or  that  hand- 
some young  officer  with  whom  they  danced,  played 
tennis,  walked,  or  rode.  These  innocent  young  ro- 
mances were  in  fact  a  source  of  amusement  to  their 
Majesties,  who  enjoyed  teasing  the  girls  about  any 
dashing  officer  who  seemed  to  attract  thern.  The 
Grand  Duchess  Olga,  sister  of  the  Emperor,  sympa- 
thized with  her  nieces'  love  of  pleasure  and  often  ar- 
ranged tea  parties  and  tennis  matches  for  them,  the 
guests,  of  course,  being  of  their  own  choice.  We  had 
some  quite  jolly  tea  parties  in  my  little  house  also. 
In  the  matter  of  dress,  so  important  to  young  and 
pretty  girls,  the  Grand  Duchesses  were  allowed  to  in- 
dulge their  own  tastes.  Mme.  Brisac,  an  accomplished 
French  dressmaker,  made  gowns  for  the  Imperial 
Family,  and  through  her  the  latest  Paris  models 
reached  the  palace.  The  girls,  however,  inclined  to- 
wards simple  English  fashions,  especially  for  out- 
door wear.  In  summer  they  dressed  almost  entirely  in 
white.  Jewels  they  were  too  young  to  wear  except  on 
very  great  occasions.  Each  girl  received  on  her 
twelfth  birthday  a  slender  gold  bracelet  which  was 
afterwards  always  worn,  day  and  night,  "for  good 
luck."  I  have  described  in  a  previous  chapter  the 
Russian  custom  of  presenting  each  Grand  Duchess,  on 
her  coming  of  age,  with  a  pearl  and  diamond  neck- 
lace, but  this  was  worn  only  at  state  functions  or  very 
formal  balls. 

Alexei,  the  only  son  of  the  Emperor  and  Empress, 
a  more  tragic  child  than  the  last  Dauphin  of  France, 
indeed  one  of  the  most  tragic  figures  in  history,  was, 
apart  from  his  terrible  affliction,  the  loveliest  and  most 


attractive  of  the  whole  family.  Because  of  his  deli- 
cate health  Alexei  began  life  as  a  rather  spoiled  child. 
His  chief  nurse,  Marie  Vechniakoff,  a  somewhat 
over-emotional  woman,  made  the  mistake  of  indulging 
the  child  in  every  whim.  It  is  easy  to  understand  why 
she  did  so,  because  nothing  more  heart-rending  could 
be  Imagined  than  the  little  boy's  moans  and  cries  dur- 
ing his  frequent  illnesses.  If  he  bumped  his  head 
or  struck  a  hand  or  foot  against  a  chair  or  table  the 
usual  result  was  a  hideous  blue  swelling  indicating  a 
subcutaneous  hemorrhage  frightfully  painful  and 
often  enduring  for  days  or  even  weeks. 

At  five  Alexei  was  placed  in  charge  of  the  sailor 
Derevanko,  who  for  a  long  term  of  years  remained 
his  constant  body  servant  and  companion.  Derevanko, 
while  devoted  to  the  boy,  did  not  spoil  him  as  his 
women  nurses  had  done,  and  the  man  was  so  patient 
and  resourceful  that  he  often  did  wonders  in  allevi- 
ating the  child's  pain.  I  can  still  in  memory  hear  the 
plaintive,  suffering  voice  of  Alexei  begging  the  big 
sailor  to  "lift  my  arm,"  "put  my  leg  up,"  "warm  my 
hands,"  and  I  can  see  the  patient,  calm-eyed  man  work- 
ing for  hours  on  end  to  give  the  maximum  of  comfort 
to  the  little  pain-racked  limbs. 

As  Alexei  grew  older  his  parents  carefully  explained 
to  him  the  nature  of  his  illness  and  impressed  on  him 
the  necessity  of  avoiding  falls  and  blows.  But 
Alexei  was  a  child  of  active  mind,  loving  sports  and 
outdoor  play,  and  it  was  almost  impossible  for  him 
to  avoid  the  very  things  that  brought  him  suffering. 
"Can't  I  have  a  bicycle?"  he  would  beg  his  mother. 
"Alexei,  you  know  you  can't."     "Mayn't  I  play  ten- 


nis?"  "Dear,  you  know  you  mustn't."  Often  these 
hard  denials  of  the  natural  play  impulse  were  followed 
by  a  gush  of  tears  as  the  child  cried  out:  "Why  can 
other  boys  have  everything  and  I  nothing?" 

Suffering  and  self-denial  had  their  effect  on  the  char- 
acter of  Alexei.  Knowing  what  pain  and  sacrifice 
meant,  he  was  extraordinarily  sympathetic  towards 
other  sick  people.  His  thoughtfulness  of  others  was 
shown  in  his  beautiful  courtesy  to  women  and  girls  and 
to  his  elders,  and  in  his  interest  in  the  troubles  of 
servants  and  dependents.  It  was  a  failing  of  the  Em- 
peror that  even  when  he  sympathized  with  the  troubles 
of  others  he  was  rather  slow  to  take  action,  unless 
indeed  the  matter  was  really  serious.  Alexei,  on  the 
contrary,  was  always  for  immediate  action.  I  re- 
member an  instance  when  a  boy  in  service  at  the  palace 
was  discharged  for  some  reason  which  I  have  quite 
forgotten.  The  story  somehow  reached  the  ears  of 
Alexei,  who  immediately  took  sides  with  the  boy  and 
gave  his  father  no  rest  until  the  whole  case  was  re- 
viewed and  the  culprit  was  forgiven  and  restored  to 
duty.  Alexei  usually  defended  all  offenders,  yet  when 
the  day  came  when  his  parents,  in  deep  distress,  told 
him  that  Father  Gregory,  that  is,  Rasputine,  had  been 
killed  by  members  of  his  own  family  the  boy's  grief 
was  swallowed  up  in  rage  and  indignation.  "Papa," 
he  exclaimed,  "is  it  possible  that  you  will  not  punish 
them?    The  assassins  of  Stolypine  were  hanged." 

I  ask  the  reader  to  remember  that  the  Imperial 
Family  firmly  believed  that  they  owed  much  of 
Alexei's  improving  health  to  the  prayers  of  Rasputine. 
Alexei  himself  believed  it.     Several  years  before  Ras- 


putine  had  assured  the  Empress  that  when  the  boy 
was  twelve  years  old  he  would  begin  to  improve  and 
that  by  the  time  he  was  a  man  he  would  be  entirely 
well.  The  undeniable  fact  is  that  after  the  age  of 
twelve  Alexei  did  begin  very  materially  to  improve. 
His  illnesses  became  farther  and  farther  apart  and 
before  19 17  his  appearance  had  changed  marvelously 
for  the  better.  He  resembled  in  no  way  the  invalid 
sons  of  his  mother's  sister,  Princess  Henry  of  Prussia, 
who  suffered  from  his  own  terrible  malady.  What  the 
best  physicians  of  Europe  had  been  unable  to  do  in 
their  case  some  mysterious  force  had  done  in  the 
case  of  the  Tsarevitch.  His  parents  to  whom  the 
young  boy  was  as  their  very  heart's  blood  believed 
that  the  healing  hand  of  God  had  wrought  the  cure, 
and  that  it  was  in  answer  to  the  supplication  of  one 
whose  spirit  was  able  to  rise  in  higher  flight  than 
theirs  or  any  other's.  They  knew  of  course  that  the 
boy  was  not  yet  entirely  well,  but  they  believed  that 
he  was  getting  well.  Alexei  believed  this  also  and  it 
is  certain  that  he  looked  forward  to  a  healthy,  normal 

Alexei,  like  his  father,  dearly  loved  the  army  and 
all  the  pageants  of  military  display.  He  had  every 
kind  of  toy  soldier,  toy  guns  and  fortresses,  and  with 
these  he  played  for  hours,  with  his  sailor  companion 
Derevanko,  or  "Dina"  as  the  boy  called  him,  and  with 
the  few  boy  companions  he  was  allowed.  Two  of  these 
boys  were  sons  of  "Dina,"  and  a  third  was  the  son 
of  one  of  the  family  physicians,  by  coincidence  also 
named  Derevanko.  In  the  last  years  before  the  Revo- 
lution a  few  carefully  selected  boys,  cadets  from  the 


Military  School,  were  called  to  the  palace  to  play  with 
Alexei.  These  boys  were  warned  of  the  danger  of 
any  rough  play,  and  all  were  .extremely  mindful  of 
their  responsibility.  It  was  because  no  other  type  of 
boy  could  be  trusted  to  play  with  Alexei  that  the  Em- 
press did  not  often  invite  to  the  palace  the  children  of 
the  Grand  Dukes.  They  were  Romanoffs,  brusque  and 
rude  in  their  manners,  thoughtless  of  the  feelings  of 
others,  and  the  Empress  literally  did  not  dare  to 
leave  them  alone  with  her  son.  But  because  of  her 
caution  she  was  bitterly  assailed  by  her  enemies  who 
spoke  sneeringly  of  her  preference  for  "low  born" 
children  over  the  aristocratic  children  of  the  family. 
The  Emperor  and  Empress  and  all  the  children 
were  passionately  fond  of  pets,  especially  dogs.  The 
Emperor's  inseparable  companion  for  many  years  was 
a  splendid  English  collie  named  Iman,  and  when  in 
the  natural  course  of  time  this  dog  died  the  Emperor 
was  inconsolable.  After  that  he  had  a  fine  kennel  of 
collies  but  he  never  made  a  special  pet  of  any  dog. 
The  favorite  dog  of  the  Empress  was  a  small,  shaggy 
terrier  from  Scotland.  This  dog's  name  was  Eira, 
and,  to  tell  the  truth,  I  did  not  like  the  little  animal 
at  all.  His  disagreeable  habit  of  darting  from  under 
chairs  and  snapping  at  people's  heels  was  a  trial  to 
my  nerves.  Nevertheless  the  Empress  doted  on  him, 
carried  him  under  her  arm  even  to  the  dinner  table, 
and  amused  herself  greatly  talking  to  and  playing 
with  the  dour  little  creature.  When  he  fell  ill  and 
had  to  be  mercifully  killed  she  wept  in  real  grief  and 
pity.  Alexei's  pets  were  two,  a  silky  little  spaniel 
named  Joy  and  a  beautiful  big  gray  cat,  the  gift  of 


General  Voyeikoff.  It  was  the  only  cat  in  the  house- 
hold and  it  was  a  privileged  animal,  even  being  al- 
lowed to  sleep  on  Alexei's  bed.  There  were  two 
other  dogs,  Tatiana's  French  bull  and  a  little  King 
Charlie  which  I  contributed  to  the  menagerie.  Both 
of  these  dogs  went  with  the  family  to  Siberia,  and  Jim- 
mie,  the  King  Charles  spaniel,  was  found  shot  to  death 
in  that  dreadful  deserted  house  in  Ekaterinaburg. 

How  far,  how  unbelievably  far  away  now  seem 
those  peaceful  days  of  19 12,  when  we  were  watching 
the  Tsar's  daughters  growing  towards  womanhood, 
and  even  in  our  minds  speculating  on  possible  mar- 
riages for  them.  Their  prospects  as  far  as  marriage 
was  concerned,  I  must  say,  were  rather  vague. 
Foreign  matches,  because  of  religion  and  even  more 
because  of  the  girls'  devotion  to  home  and  country, 
were  almost  out  of  the  question,  and  suitable  husbands 
in  Russia  seemed  to  be  entirely  lacking.  There  was 
a  time  in  his  boyhood  when  Dmitri,  son  of  the  Tsar's 
uncle.  Grand  Duke  Paul,  was  a  great  favorite  with 
the  Imperial  Family.  But  Dmitri  as  he  grew  older  be- 
came so  dissipated  that  he  quite  cut  himself  off  from 
the  prospect  of  an  alliance  with  any  of  the  Grand 
Duchesses.  There  had  once  been  a  faint  possibility  of 
an  engagement  between  Olga  and  Crown  Prince  Carol 
of  Rumania.  As  early  as  19 10  the  beautiful  Queen 
Marie  and  her  son  visited  Russia  for  the  purpose  of 
introducing  the  young  people,  but  nothing  came  of  the 
visit.  In  19 14  the  family  made  a  return  visit  to 
Rumania  on  the  Standert,  the  Rumanian  Royal  family, 
including  the  old  Queen,  "Carmen  Sylva,"  meeting  the 
yacht  at  Constanza,  on  the  Black  Sea,  and  making  a 


splendid  fete  which  lasted  for  three  days.  This  time 
the  matter  was  seriously  broached  to  Olga  who,  in  her 
usual  quick,  straightforward  manner,  declined  the 
match.  In  191 6  Prince  Carol  again  visited  the  Rus- 
sian Court,  and  now  his  young  man's  fancy  rested  on 
Marie.  He  made  a  formal  proposal  for  her  hand, 
but  the  Emperor,  declaring  that  Marie  was  nothing 
more  than  a  schoolgirl,  good-naturedly  laughed  the 
Prince's  proposal  aside. 

Not  all  these  proposals  ended  so  merrily.  One  day 
coming  as  usual  to  Peterhof,  I  found  the  Empress  in 
tears.  A  formal  proposal  had  just  been  received  from 
the  old  Grand  Duchess,  Marie  Pavlovna,  aunt  of  the 
Emperor,  for  a  marriage  between  her  son  Boris  Vla- 
dimirovitch  and  Grand  Duchess  Olga.  This  young 
man,  Prince  Boris,  was  much  better  known  in  question- 
able circles  in  Paris  than  in  the  Court  of  Russia  and  the 
mere  suggestion  of  a  marriage  with  one  of  her  daugh- 
ters was  enough  to  reduce  the  Empress  to  mortified 
tears.  Of  course  the  proposal  was  rejected,  greatly 
to  the  wrath  of  Grand  Duchess  Marie  Pavlovna,  a 
Russian  grande  dame  of  the  old  school  in  which  the 
debauchery  of  young  men  was  regarded  as  a  perfectly 
natural  phenomenon.  She  never  forgave  the  slight, 
as  she  chose  to  consider  it,  and  later  became  one  of 
the  most  active  of  the  circle  of  intriguers  which,  from 
the  safety  of  a  foreign  embassy  in  Petrograd,  plotted 
the  ruin  of  the  Imperial  Family  and  of  their  country. 

In  the  summer  of  19 12  the  family  and  their  imme- 
diate household,  including  myself,  went  on  another 
long  cruise  in  Finnish  waters.  During  the  cruise  the 
yacht  was  visited  by  the  Empress  Dowager  of  whom 


previously  I  had  seen  but  little.  I  write  with  some 
hesitation  about  the  Empress  Dowager,  who  is  still 
living,  and  for  whom  I  entertain  all  due  respect.  She 
was,  as  I  remember  her  then,  a  small,  slender  woman, 
not  beautiful  certainly,  not  as  attractive  as  her  sister, 
Queen  Alexandra  of  England,  but  with  a  great  deal 
of  presence  and,  when  she  chose  to  exert  it,  consider- 
able personal  charm.  The  Emperor  she  apparently 
loved  less  than  her  other  children,  especially  her  son, 
Grand  Duke  Michail,  and  the  Empress  I  fear  she 
loved  not  at  all.  To  the  children  she  was  affectionate 
but  a  trifle  distant.  I  am  sure  that  she  resented  the 
fact  that  the  first  four  children  were  girls,  and  there 
is  little  doubt  that  she  felt  bitterly  the  affliction  of  the 
heir.  Possibly  she  felt  in  her  secret  heart  that  it  should 
have  been  her  own  strong  son  Michail  who  was  the 
acknowledged  successor  of  Nicholas  II.  I  say  this 
from  my  own  conjecture  and  observations  and  not  from 
positive  knowledge.  Yet  after  events,  I  think,  con- 
firmed my  opinion. 

The  Dowager  Empress  after  the  death  of  Alex- 
ander III  relinquished  with  rather  bad  grace  her  po- 
sition of  reigning  Empress.  In  fact  she  never  did  re- 
linquish it  altogether,  always  taking  precedence  on 
public  occasions  of  Alexandra  Feodorovna.  Just  why 
the  Tsar  consented  to  this  I  never  knew,  but  certain 
it  is  that  always,  when  the  Imperial  Family  made  a 
state  entrance  the  Tsar  appeared  first  with  his  mother 
on  his  arm,  the  Empress  following  on  the  arm  of  one 
of  the  Grand  Dukes.  Society  generally  approved  this 
procedure,  the  Empress  Mother  enjoying  all  the  popu- 
larity which  the  Empress  lacked.     There  were  actu- 


ally  In  Russia  two  Courts,  a  large  one  represented  by 
society  and  the  Grand  Dukes,  and  a  small  one  repre- 
sented by  the  intimate  circle  of  the  Emperor  and  Em- 
press. In  the  one  everything  done  by  the  Empress 
Mother  was  right  and  by  the  shy  and  retiring  Em- 
press wrong.  In  the  small  Court  it  was  exactly  the 
other  way  around,  except  that  even  in  the  palace  a 
certain  amount  of  petty  intrigue  always  existed. 

The  visit  to  Finnish  waters  by  the  Empress  Mother 
in  19 1 2  was  marred  by  no  coldness  or  disharmony. 
When  we  went  ashore  for  tennis  the  Emperor  admon- 
ished us  all  to  play  as  well  as  we  could,  "because 
Mama  is  coming."  We  lunched  aboard  her  yacht  and 
she  dined  with  us  on  the  Standert.  On  the  2 2d  of 
July,  which  was  her  name  day,  as  well  as  that  of  the 
little  Grand  Duchess  Marie,  she  spent  most  of  the 
day  on  the  Emperor's  yacht,  and  after  luncheon  I  took 
a  photograph  of  her  sitting  with  her  arm  around  the 
Emperor's  shoulders,  her  two  little  Japanese  spaniels 
at  their  feet.  She  made  us  dance  for  her  on  deck, 
photographing  us  as  we  danced.  After  tea  the  chil- 
dren performed  for  her  a  little  French  playlet  which 
seemed  to  delight  her.  Yet  that  evening  at  dinner  I 
could  not  help  noticing  how  her  fine  eyes,  so  kind  and 
smiling  towards  most  of  the  company,  clouded 
slightly  whenever  they  were  turned  to  the  Emperor  or 
the  Empress.  Still  I  must  record  that  later,  passing 
the  open  door  of  Alexei's  cabin,  I  saw  the  Empress 
Mother  sitting  on  the  edge  of  the  child's  bed  talking 
gaily  and  peeling  an  apple  quite  like  any  loving  grand- 

I    do    not    pretend    to    understand    the    Empress 


Dowager  or  her  motives,  but,  as  far  as  I  can  judge, 
her  chief  weakness  was  love  of  power.  She  carried 
her  insistence  on  precedence  so  far  that  the  chiffres  of 
the  maids  of  honor  of  both  Empresses  bore  the  initials 
M.  A.  instead  of  A.  M.,  which  was  the  proper  order. 
She  wanted  to  be  first  in  everything  and  could  not  bear 
to  abdicate  either  power  or  influence.  She  never,  I 
believe,  understood  her  son's  preference  for  a  quiet, 
family  life,  or  the  changed  and  softened  manners  he 
acquired  under  the  influence  of  his  wife. 


IN  the  autumn  of  19 12  the  family  went  to  Skerne- 
vlzi,  their  Polish  estate,  in  order  to  indulge  the  Em- 
peror's love  for  big-game  hunting.  In  the  vast  forests 
surrounding  the  estate  all  kinds  of  game  were  pre- 
served and  the  sport  of  hunting  there  was  said  to  be 
very  exciting.  During  the  war  these  woods  and  all 
the  game  were  destroyed  by  the  Germans,  but  until 
after  19 14  Skernevizi  was  a  favorite  retreat  of  the 
Emperor.  I  had  returned  to  my  house  in  Tsarskoe 
Selo  but  I  was  not  allowed  long  to  remain  there.  A 
telegram  from  the  Empress  conveyed  the  disquieting 
news  that  Alexei,  in  jumping  into  a  boat,  had  injured 
himself  and  was  now  in  a  serious  condition.  The 
child  had  been  removed  from  Skernevizi  to  Spala,  a 
smaller  Polish  estate  near  Warsaw,  and  to  Warsaw  I 
accordingly  traveled.  Here  I  was  met  by  one  of  the 
Imperial  carriages  and  was  driven  to  Spala.  Driv- 
ing for  nearly  an  hour  through  deep  woods  and  over 
a  heavy,  sandy  road  I  reached  my  destination,  a  small 
wooden  house,  something  like  a  country  inn,  in  which 
the  suite  was  lodged.  Two  rooms  had  been  set  apart 
for  me  and  my  maid,  and  here  I  found  Olga  and 
Tatiana  waiting  to  help  me  get  settled.  Their  mother, 
they  said,  was  expecting  me,  and  without  any  loss  of 
time  I  went  with  them  to  the  palace. 

I  found  the  Empress  greatly  agitated.     The  boy 



was  temporarily  improved  but  was  still  too  delicate 
to  be  taken  back  to  Tsarskoe  Selo.  Meanwhile  the 
family  lived  in  one  of  the  dampest,  gloomiest  palaces 
I  have  ever  seen.  It  was  really  a  large  wooden  villa, 
very  badly  planned  as  far  as  light  and  sunshine  were 
concerned.  The  large  dining  room  on  the  ground  floor 
was  so  dark  that  the  electric  lights  had  to  be  kept  on 
all  day.  Upstairs  to  the  right  of  a  long  corridor  were 
the  rooms  of  the  Emperor  and  Empress,  her  sitting 
room  in  bright  English  chintzes  being  one  of  the  few 
cheerful  spots  in  the  house.  Here  we  usually  spent 
our  evenings.  The  bedrooms  and  dressing  rooms  were 
too  dark  for  comfort,  but  the  Emperor's  study,  also 
on  the  right  of  the  corridor,  was  fairly  bright. 

As  long  as  the  health  of  little  Alexei  continued 
fairly  satisfactory  the  Emperor  and  his  suite  went  stag 
hunting  daily  in  the  forests  of  the  estate.  Every  eve- 
ning after  dinner  the  slain  stags  were  brought  to  the 
front  of  the  palace  and  laid  out  for  inspection  on  the 
grass.  The  huntsmen  with  their  flaring  torches  and 
winding  horns  standing  over  the  day's  bag  made,  I 
was  told,  a  very  picturesque  spectacle.  The  Emperor 
and  his  suite  and  most  of  the  household  used  to  en- 
joy going  out  after  dinner  to  enjoy  this  fine  sight.  I 
never  went  myself,  having  a  foolish  love  of  animals 
which  prevents  enjoyment  of  the  royal  sport  of  hunt- 
ing. I  even  failed  to  appreciate,  as  the  head  of  the 
estate,  kind  Count  Velepolsky,  thought  I  should,  the 
many  trophies  of  the  chase  with  which  the  corridors 
and  apartments  of  the  palace  were  adorned. 

What  I  did  enjoy  was  the  beautiful  park  which  sur- 
rounded the  palace,  and  the  rapid  little  river  Pilitsa 


that  flowed  through  it.  There  was  one  leafy  path 
through  which  I  often  walked  in  the  mornings  with 
the  Emperor.  This  was  called  the  Road  of  Mush- 
rooms because  it  ended  in  a  wonderful  mushroom 
bench.  The  whole  place  was  so  remote  and  peaceful 
that  I  deeply  sympathized  with  their  Majesties'  irrita- 
tion that  even  there  they  could  never  stir  abroad 
without  being  haunted  by  the  police  guard. 

Although  Alexei's  illness  was  believed  to  have  taken 
a  favorable  turn  and  he  was  even  beginning  to  walk 
a  little  about  the  house  and  gardens,  I  found  him  pale 
and  decidedly  out  of  condition.  He  occasionally  com- 
plained of  pain,  but  the  doctors  were  unable  to  dis- 
cover any  actual  injury.  One  day  the  Empress  took 
the  child  for  a  drive  and  before  we  had  gone  very  far 
we  saw  that  indeed  he  was  very  ill.  He  cried  out 
with  pain  in  his  back  and  stomach,  and  the  Empress, 
terribly  frightened,  gave  the  order  to  return  to  the 
palace.  That  return  drive  stands  out  in  my  mind  as 
an  experience  of  horror.  Every  movement  of  the 
carriage,  every  rough  place  in  the  road,  caused  the 
child  the  most  exquisite  torture,  and  by  the  time  we 
reached  home  he  was  almost  unconscious  with  pain. 
The  next  weeks  were  endless  torment  to  the  boy  and 
to  all  of  us  who  had  to  listen  to  his  constant  cries  of 
pain.  For  fully  eleven  days  these  dreadful  sounds 
filled  the  corridors  outside  his  room,  and  those  of 
us  who  were  obliged  to  approach  had  often  to  stop 
our  ears  with  our  hands  in  order  to  go  about  our 
duties.  During  the  entire  time  the  Empress  never 
undressed,  never  went  to  bed,  rarely  even  lay  down  for 
an  hour's  rest.     Hour  after  hour  she  sat  beside  the 


bed  where  the  half-conscious  child  lay  huddled  on  one 
side,  his  left  leg  drawn  up  so  sharply  that  for  nearly  a 
year  afterwards  he  could  not  straighten  it  out.  His 
face  was  absolutely  bloodless,  drawn  and  seamed  with 
suffering,  while  his  almost  expressionless  eyes  rolled 
back  in  his  head.  Once  when  the  Emperor  came  into 
the  room,  seeing  his  boy  in  this  agony  and  hearing  his 
faint  screams  of  pain,  the  poor  father's  courage  com- 
pletely gave  way  and  he  rushed,  weeping  bitterly,  to 
his  study.  Both  parents  believed  the  child  dying,  and 
Alexei  himself,  in  one  of  his  rare  moments  of  con- 
sciousness, said  to  his  mother:  "When  I  am  dead 
build  me  a  little  monument  of  stones  in  the  wood." 

The  family's  most  trusted  physicians.  Dr.  Rauch- 
fuss  and  Professor  Fedoroff  and  his  assistant  Dr. 
Derevanko,  were  in  charge  of  the  case  and  after  the 
first  consultations  declared  the  Tsarevitch's  condition 
hopeless.  The  hemorrhage  of  the  stomach  from  which 
he  was  suffering  seemed  liable  to  turn  into  an  abscess 
which  could  at  any  moment  prove  fatal.  We  had  two 
terrible  moments  in  which  this  complication  threat- 
ened. One  day  at  luncheon  a  note  was  brought  from 
the  Empress  to  the  Emperor  who,  pale  but  collected, 
made  a  sign  for  the  physicians  to  leave  the  table. 
Alexei,  the  Empress  had  written,  was  suffering  so  ter- 
ribly that  she  feared  the  worst  was  about  to  happen. 
This  crisis,  however,  was  averted.  On  the  second  oc- 
casion, on  an  evening  after  dinner  when  we  were  sit- 
ting very  quietly  in  the  Empress's  boudoir,  Princess 
Henry  of  Prussia,  who  had  come  to  be  with  her  sister 
in  her  trouble,  appeared  in  the  doorway  very  white  and 
agitated  and  begged  the  members  of  the  suite  to  re- 


tire  as  the  child's  condition  was  desperate.  At  eleven 
o'clock  the  Emperor  and  Empress  entered  the  room, 
despair  written  on  their  faces.  Still  the  Empress  de- 
clared that  she  could  not  believe  that  God  had  aban- 
doned them  and  she  asked  me  to  telegraph  Raspu- 
tine  for  his  prayers.  His  reply  came  quickly.  "The 
little  one  will  not  die,"  it  said.  "Do  not  allow  the 
doctors  to  bother  him  too  much."  As  a  matter  of 
fact  the  turning  point  came  a  few  days  later,  the  pain 
subsided,  and  the  boy  lay  wasted  and  utterly  spent, 
but  alive. 

Curiously  enough  there  was  no  church  on  this  Polish 
estate,  but  during  the  illness  of  the  Tsarevitch  a  chapel 
was  installed  in  a  large  green  tent  in  the  garden.  A 
new  confessor,  Father  Alexander,  celebrated  mass  and 
after  the  first  celebration  he  walked  in  solemn  proces- 
sion from  the  altar  to  the  sickroom  bearing  with  him 
holy  communion  for  the  sick  boy.  The  Emperor  and 
Empress  were  very  much  impressed  with  Father  Alex- 
ander and  from  that  time  on  they  retained  him  in  their 
private  chapel  at  Tsarskoe  Selo,  He  was  a  good  man 
but  not  a  brave  one,  for  when  the  Revolution  came, 
and  the  Emperor  and  the  Empress  sent  for  him  to 
come  to  them,  he  confessed  himself  afraid  to  go. 
Poor  man!  His  caution,  after  all,  did  not  save  him. 
He  was  shot  by  the  Bolsheviki  a  year  or  two  after- 
wards, on  what  pretext  I  do  not  know. 

The  convalescence  of  Alexei  was  slow  and  weari- 
some. His  nurse,  Marie  Vechniakofif,  had  grown  so 
hysterical  with  fatigue  that  she  had  to  be  relieved, 
while  the  Empress  was  so  exhausted  that  she  could 
hardly  move  from  room  to  room.     The  young  Grand 


Duchesses  were  tireless  in  their  devotion  to  the  poor 
invalid,  as  was  also  M.  Gilliard,  who  read  to  him  and 
diverted  him  hours  on  end.  Gradually  the  distracted 
household  assumed  a  more  normal  aspect.  The  Em- 
peror, in  Cossack  uniform,  began  once  more  to  en- 
tertain the  officers  of  his  Varsovie  Lancers,  com- 
manded by  a  splendid  soldier.  General  Mannerheim, 
of  whom  the  world  has  heard  much.  As  Alexei's 
health  continued  to  improve  there  was  even  a  little 
shooting,  and  a  great  deal  of  tennis  which  the  girls, 
after  their  long  confinement  to  the  house,  greatly  en- 
joyed. All  of  us  began  to  be  happy  again,  but  one  day 
the  Emperor  called  me  into  his  study  and  showed  me  a 
telegram  from  his  brother.  Grand  Duke  Michail,  in 
which  the  latter  announced  his  morganatic  marriage 
to  the  Countess  Brassoff,  of  whom  the  Emperor 
strongly  disapproved.  It  was  not  the  marriage  itself 
that  so  strongly  disturbed  the  Emperor,  but  that 
Michail  had  solemnly  given  his  word  of  honor  that  it 
would  never  take  place.  "He  broke  his  word — his 
word  of  honor,"  the  Emperor  repeated  again  and 

Another  blow  which  the  Emperor  received  at  this 
time  was  the  suicide  of  Admiral  Chagin,  command- 
ant of  the  Standert  and  one  of  the  closest  friends  of 
the  family.  The  Admiral  shot  himself  on  account  of 
an  unhappy  love  affair,  and  deeply  as  the  Emperor 
mourned  his  death  he  was  even  more  indignant  at  the 
manner  of  it.  Russians,  I  know,  are  inclined  to  mor- 
bidity, and  suicide  with  them  is  not  an  uncommon 
thing.  But  Nicholas  II  always  regarded  it  as  an  act 
of  dishonor.    "Running  away  from  the  field  of  battle," 


was  his  characterization  of  such  an  act,  and  when  he 
heard  of  Chagin's  suicide  he  gave  way  to  a  terrible 
mood  of  anger  and  grief.  Speaking  of  both  Michail 
and  Chagin  he  said  bitterly:  "How,  in  the  midst  of 
the  boy's  illness  and  all  our  trouble,  how  could  they 
have  done  such  things?"  The  poor  Emperor,  to 
whom  every  failure  of  those  he  loved  and  trusted  came 
as  an  utterly  unexpected  blow,  how  near  was  his  hour 
of  complete  and  final  disillusionment  of  nearly  all 
earthly  loyalties. 

We  had  a  few  weeks  of  peaceful  enjoyment  before 
leaving  Spala  that  autumn.  The  girls,  bright  and 
happy  once  more,  rode  every  morning,  the  crisp  air  and 
the  exercise  coloring  their  cheeks  and  raising  their 
spirits  high.  The  Emperor  tramped  the  woods,  some- 
times with  me  as  his  companion,  and  on  one  of  these 
outings  we  both  had  a  narrow  escape  from  drowning. 
The  Emperor  took  me  for  a  row  on  the  river  which, 
as  I  have  said,  had  a  very  rapid  currrent.  Intent  on 
keeping  the  boat  well  into  the  current,  the  Emperor 
ran  us  into  a  small  island,  and  for  a  few  seconds  escape 
from  an  ignominious  upset  seemed  impossible.  I  was 
ty  ^roughly  frightened,  the  Emperor  not  a  little  em- 
^d,  and  ardor  for  water  sports  was,  for  a  time, 
r  ^ened  in  both  of  us. 

ober  21  (Russian  Calendar)  we  celebrated 
the  accession  to  the  throne  with  high  mass  and  holy 
communion,  and  a  few  days  later  the  doctors  decided 
that  Alexei  was  well  enough  to  be  moved  to  Tsarskoe 
Selo.  The  Imperial  train  was  made  ready  and  their 
Majesties  decided  that  I  was  to  travel  on  it  with  the 
rest  of  the  suite.    This  was,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  con- 


trary  to  strict  etiquette,  and  the  announcement  created 
among  the  ladies  in  waiting  much  consternation,  not 
to  say  rancor.  There  is  no  question  that  being  a  regu- 
larly appointed  lady  in  waiting  to  royalty  and  having 
nothing  to  do  when  a  mere  friend  of  the  exalted  one 
happens  to  be  at  hand  is  a  bit  irritating,  so  I  cannot 
really  blame  the  Empress's  ladies  for  objecting  to  me 
as  a  traveling  companion.  The  Imperial  train,  now 
used,  one  hears,  by  the  inner  circle  of  the  Communists, 
was  composed  of  a  number  of  luxurious  carriages, 
more  like  a  home  than  a  railway  train.  In  the  car- 
riage of  the  Emperor  and  Empress  the  easy  chairs  and 
sofas  were  upholstered  in  bright  chintz  and  there 
were  books,  family  photographs,  and  all  sort  of  famil- 
iar trinkets.  The  emperor's  study  was  in  his  favor- 
ite green  leather,  and  adjoining  their  dressing  rooms 
was  a  large  and  perfectly  equipped  bathroom.  In  this 
carriage  also  were  rooms  for  the  personal  attendants 
of  their  Majesties.  The  Grand  Duchesses  and  their 
maids  had  a  similar  carriage,  and  Alexei's  carriage, 
which  had  compartments  for  the  maids  of  honor  and 
myself,  was  furnished  with  every  imaginable  comfort. 
The  last  carriage  was  the  dining  wagon  with  a  small 
anteroom  where  the  inevitable  zakouski,  the  Russian 
table  of  hors  d'oeuvres,  was  served.  At  the  long  din- 
ing table  the  Emperor  sat  with  his  daughters  on  either 
hand,  while  facing  him  were  Count  Fredericks  and 
the  ladies  in  waiting.  Throughout  the  journey  of 
nearly  two  days  the  Empress  was  served  in  her  own 
room  or  beside  the  bed  where  Alexei  lay,  very  weak, 
but  bright  and  cheerful  once  more. 

This  chapter  may  well  close  with  one  of  the  open- 


ing  events  of  19 13,  the  Jubilee  of  the  Romanoffs,  cele- 
brating the  three  hundredth  anniversary  of  their 
reign.  In  February  the  Court  moved  from  Tsarskoe 
Selo  to  the  Winter  Palace  in  Petrograd,  a  place  they 
disliked  because  of  the  vast  gloominess  of  the  build- 
ing and  the  fact  that  the  only  garden  was  a  tiny  space 
hardly  large  enough  for  the  children  to  play  or  to 
exercise  in.  On  reaching  Petrograd  the  family  drove 
directly  across  the  Neva  to  Christ's  Chapel,  the  little 
church  of  Peter  the  Great,  where  is,  or  was,  preserved 
a  miraculous  picture  of  the  Christ,  very  old  and  highly 
revered.  The  public  had  not  been  notified  that  the 
Imperial  Family  would  first  visit  this  chapel,  but  their 
presence  quickly  became  known  and  they  drove  back 
to  the  Winter  Palace  through  excited,  but  on  the 
whole  undemonstrative,  masses  of  people,  a  typical 
Petrograd  crowd. 

The  actual  celebration  of  the  Jubilee  began  with  a 
solemn  service  in  the  Cathedral  of  Our  Lady  of  Kazan, 
which  everyone  familiar  with  Petrograd  remembers 
as  one  of  the  most  beautiful  of  Russian  churches.  The 
vast  building  was  packed  to  its  utmost  capacity,  and 
that  means  a  much  larger  crowd  than  in  ordinary 
churches,  since  in  Russia  the  congregation  stands  or 
kneels  through  the  entire  service.  From  my  position 
I  had  a  very  good  view  of  both  the  Emperor  and  the 
Tsarevitch,  and  I  was  puzzled  to  see  them  raise  their 
heads  and  gaze  long  at  the  ceiling,  but  afterwards  they 
told  me  that  two  doves  had  appeared  and  had  floated 
for  several  minutes  over  their  heads.  In  the  religious 
exaltation  of  the  hour  this  appeared  to  the  Emperor 
a  symbol  that  the  blessing  of  God,   after  three  cen- 


EMPRESS    i\    OLD 
1913  JUBILEE. 




turies,  continued  to  rest  on  the  House  of  Romanoff. 
There  followed  a  long  series  of  functions  at  the 
palace,  with  deputations  coming  from  all  over  the 
Empire,  the  women  appearing  at  receptions  and  din- 
ners in  the  beautiful  national  dress,  which  were  also 
worn  by  the  Empress  and  her  daughters.  The  Em- 
press, for  all  her  weariness,  was  regal  in  her  richly 
flowing  robes  and  long-veiled,  high  kokoshnik,  the 
Russian  national  headdress,  set  with  magnificent 
jewels.  She  also  wore  the  wide-ribboned  order  of  St. 
Andrew,  which  was  her  sole  privilege  to  wear,  and  at 
the  most  formal  of  the  state  dinners  she  wore  the  most 
splendid  of  all  the  crown  jewels.  The  young  Grand 
Duchesses  were  simply  but  beautifully  gowned  on  all 
occasions,  and  they  wore  the  order  of  Catherine  the 
Great,  red  ribbons  with  blazing  diamond  stars.  The 
crowds  were  enormous  in  all  the  great  state  rooms, 
the  Imperial  Family  standing  for  hours  while  the  mul- 
titudes filed  past  with  sweeping  curtsies  and  low  bows. 
So  long  and  fatiguing  were  these  ceremonies  that  at 
the  end  the  Empress  was  literally  too  fatigued  to  force 
a  smile.  Poor  little  Alexei  also,  after  being  carried 
through  the  rooms  and  obliged  to  acknowledge  a  thou- 
sand greetings,  was  taken  back  to  his  room  in  a  con- 
dition of  utter  exhaustion. 

There  were  state  performances  at  the  theater  and 
the  opera.  Glinka's  "Life  for  the  Tsar"  being  sung 
to  the  usual  tumult  of  applause  and  adulation,  but  for 
all  that  I  felt  that  there  was  in  the  brilliant  audience 
little  real  enthusiasm,  little  real  loyalty.  I  saw  a 
cloud  over  the  whole  celebration  in  Petrograd,  and 
this  impression,  I  am  almost  sure,  was  shared  by  the 


Empress.  She  told  me  that  she  could  never  feel  happy 
in  Petrograd.  Everything  in  the  Winter  Palace  re- 
minded her  of  earlier  years  when  she  and  her  husband 
used  to  go  happily  to  the  theater  together  and  return- 
ing would  have  supper  in  their  dressing  gowns  before 
the  fire  talking  over  the  events  of  the  day  and  eve- 
ning. "I  was  so  happy  then,"  she  said  plaintively, 
"so  well  and  strong.     Now  I  am  a  wreck." 

Much  as  both  she  and  the  Emperor  desired  to 
shorten  their  stay  in  Petrograd,  they  were  obliged  to 
remain  several  weeks  after  the  close  of  the  official  cele- 
bration because  Tatiana,  who  unwisely  had  drunk  the 
infected  water  of  the  capital,  fell  ill  of  typhoid  and 
could  not  for  some  time  be  moved.  With  her  lovely 
brown  hair  cut  short,  we  finally  went  back  to  Tsarskoe 
Selo,  where  she  made  good  progress  back  to  health. 

In  the  spring  began  the  celebration  of  the  Jubilee 
throughout  the  Empire.  The  visit  to  the  Volga,  espe- 
cially to  Kostrama,  the  home  of  the  first  Romanoff 
monarch,  Michail  Feodorovnitch,  was  a  magnificent 
success,  the  people  actually  wading  waist  deep  in  the 
river  in  order  to  get  nearer  the  Imperial  boat.  It  was 
the  same  through  all  the  surrounding  governments, 
crowds,  cheers,  acclamations,  prayers,  and  great  cho- 
ruses singing  the  national  hymn,  '^very  evidence  of  love 
and  loyalty.  I  particularly  remember  when  the  cor- 
tege reached  the  town  of  Pereyaslovl,  in  the  Vladimir 
Government,  because  it  was  from  there  that  my  father's 
family  originated,  and  some  of  his  relatives  took  part 
in  the  day's  celebration.  The  Empress,  to  my  regret, 
was  not  present,  being  confined  to  her  bed  on  the  Im- 
perial train,  ill  and  fatigued,  yet  under  obligation  to 


be  ready  for  special  ceremonies  in  Moscow.  It  would 
need  a  more  eloquent  pen  than  mine  adequately  to  de- 
scribe those  days  in  Moscow,  the  Holy  City  of  Russia. 
The  weather  was  perfect,  and  under  the  clear  sun- 
shine the  floating  flags  and  banners,  the  flower-trimmed 
buildings,  and  the  numberless  decorations  made  up 
a  spectacle  of  unforgettable  beauty.  Leaving  his  car 
at  some  distance  from  the  Kremlin,  the  Emperor  en- 
tered the  great  gate  on  foot,  preceded  by  chanting 
priests  with  waving  censers  and  holy  images.  Behind 
the  Emperor  and  his  suite  came  the  Empress  and 
Alexei  in  an  open  car  through  crowds  that  pressed 
hard  against  the  police  lines,  while  overhead  all  the 
bells  of  Moscow  pealed  welcome  to  the  Sovereigns. 
Every  day  it  was  the  same,  demonstrations  of  love  and 
fealty  it  seemed  that  no  time  or  circumstance  could 
ever  alter. 


NINETEEN-FOURTEEN,  that  year  of  fate  for 
all  the  world,  but  more  than  all  for  my  poor 
country,  began  its  course  in  Russia,  as  elsewhere,  in 
apparent  peace  and  tranquillity.  With  us,  as  with 
other  civilized  people,  the  tragedy  of  Sarajevo  came 
as  a  thrill  of  horror  and  surmise.  I  do  not  know  ex- 
actly what  we  expected  to  follow  that  desperate  act 
committed  in  a  distant  province  of  Austria,  but  cer- 
tainly not  the  cataclysm  of  a  World  War  and  the  ruin 
of  three  of  the  proudest  empires  of  earth.  Very 
shortly  after  the  assassination  of  the  Austrian  heir  and 
his  wife  the  Emperor  had  gone  to  Kronstadt,  head- 
quarters of  the  Baltic  fleet,  to  meet  French  and  British 
squadrons  then  on  cruise  in  Russian  waters.^  From 
Kronstadt  he  proceeded  to  Krasnoe,  near  Petrograd, 
the  great  summer  central  review  center  of  the  old 
Russian  Army  where  the  usual  military  maneuvers 
were  in  progress.  Returning  to  Peterhof,  the  Em- 
peror ordered  a  hasty  departure  to  Finland  because, 
he  said,  the  political  horizon  was  darkening  and  he 

^  So  little  did  any  of  the  Allied  rulers  and  statesmen  anticipate  the 
World  War  that  in  July,  1914,  President  Poincare  accompanied  the 
French  fleet  on  its  cruise  to  the  Baltic.  Many  festivities  were  ar- 
ranged for  him,  and  he  was  regally  entertained  by  the  Emperor. 
When  receiving  the  ambassadors  President  Poincare  spoke  gravely 
of  the  troubled  political  situation,  but  he  said  nothing  to  indicate  that 
he  expected  war. 



needed  a  few  days  of  rest  and  distraction.  We  sailed 
on  July  6  (Russian  Calendar)  and  had  a  quiet  cruise, 
the  last  one  we  were  ever  destined  to  enjoy.  Not  that 
we  intended  it  to  be  our  last,  for  returning  to  Peter- 
hof,  from  whence  the  Emperor  hurried  again  to  the 
reviews,  we  left  nearly  all  our  luggage  on  the  yacht. 
The  Empress,  however,  in  one  of  her  fits  of  melan- 
choly, told  me  that  she  felt  that  we  would  never  again 
be  together  on  the  Standert. 

The  political  skies  were  Indeed  darkening.  The 
Serbian  murders  and  the  unaccountably  arrogant  at- 
titude of  Austria  grew  in  importance  every  succeeding 
day,  and  for  many  hours  every  day  the  Emperor  was 
closeted  in  his  study  with  Grand  Duke  Nicholas,  For- 
eign Minister  Sazonoff  and  other  Ministers,  all  of 
whom  urged  on  the  Emperor  the  imperative  duty  of 
standing  by  Serbia.  During  the  short  intervals  of  the 
day  when  we  saw  the  Emperor  he  seemed  half  dazed 
by  the  momentous  decision  he  was  called  upon  to  make. 
A  few  days  before  mobilization  I  went  to  lunch  at 
Krasnoe  with  a  friend  whose  husband  was  on  the  Rus- 
sian General  Staff.  In  the  middle  of  luncheon  this 
officer,  Count  Nosstiz,  burst  into  the  room  exclaiming: 
"Do  you  know  what  the  Emperor  has  done?  Can  you 
guess  what  they  have  made  him  do  ?  He  has  promoted 
the  young  men  of  the  Military  Academy  to  be  officers, 
and  he  has  sent  the  regiments  back  to  their  casernes 
to  await  orders.  All  the  military  attaches  are  tele- 
graphing their  Governments  to  ask  what  it  means. 
What  can  it  mean  except  war?" 

From  my  friend's  house  I  went  almost  at  once  back 
to  Peterhof  and  Informed  the  Empress  what  I  had 


heard.  Her  amazement  was  unbounded,  and  over  and 
over  she  repeated  that  she  did  not  understand,  that 
she  could  not  imagine  under  what  influence  the  Em- 
peror had  acted.  He  was  still  at  the  maneuvers,  and 
although  I  remained  late  with  the  Empress  I  did  not 
see  him  that  night.  The  days  that  followed  were  full 
of  suspense  and  anxiety.  I  spent  most  of  my  time 
playing  tennis — very  badly — with  the  girls,  but  from 
my  occasional  contacts  with  the  Empress  I  knew  that 
she  was  arguing  and  pleading  against  the  war  which 
apparently  the  Emperor  felt  to  be  inevitable.  In  one 
short  talk  I  had  with  him  on  the  subject  he  seemed  to 
find  a  certain  comfort  in  the  thought  that  war  always 
strengthened  national  feeling,  and  in  his  belief  Russia 
would  emerge  from  a  truly  righteous  war  stronger  and 
better  than  ever.  At  this  time  a  telegram  arrived 
from  Rasputine  in  Siberia,  which  plainly  irritated  the 
Emperor.  Rasputine  strongly  opposed  the  war,  and 
predicted  that  it  would  result  in  the  destruction  of  the 
Empire.  But  the  Emperor  refused  to  believe  it  and 
resented  what  was  really  an  almost  unprecedented  in- 
terference in  affairs  of  state  on  the  part  of  Rasputine. 
I  think  I  have  spoken  of  the  Emperor's  aversion  to 
the  telephone.  Up  to  this  time  none  of  his  studies 
were  ever  fitted  with  telephones,  but  now  he  had  wires 
and  instruments  installed  and  spent  a  great  deal  of 
time  in  conversations  with  Ministers  and  members  of 
the  military  staff.  Then  came  the  day  of  mobilization, 
the  same  kind  of  a  day  of  wild  excitement,  waving 
street  crowds,  weeping  women  and  children,  heart- 
rending scenes  of  parting,  that  all  the  warring  coun- 
tries saw  and  ever  will  remember.     After  watching 


hours  of  these  dreadful  scenes  in  the  streets  of  Peter- 
hof  I  went  to  my  evening  duties  with  the  Empress  only 
to  find  that  she  had  remained  in  absolute  ignorance 
of  what  had  been  taking  place.  Mobilization  I  It  was 
not  true,  she  exclaimed.  Certainly  armies  were  mov- 
ing, but  only  on  the  Austrian  frontiers.  She  hurried 
from  the  room  and  I  heard  her  enter  the  Emperor's 
study.  For  half  an  hour  the  sound  of  their  excited 
voices  reached  my  ears.  Returning,  the  Empress 
dropped  on  her  couch  as  one  overcome  by  desperate 
tidings.  "War!"  She  murmured  breathlessly.  "And 
I  knew  nothing  of  it.  This  is  the  end  of  everything." 
I  could  say  nothing.  I  understood  as  little  as  she  the 
incomprehensible  silence  of  the  Emperor  at  such  an 
hour,  and  as  always,  whatever  hurt  her  hurt  me.  We 
sat  in  silence  until  eleven  when,  as  usual,  the  Emperor 
came  in  to  tea,  but  he  was  distraught  and  gloomy  and 
the  tea  hour  also  passed  in  almost  complete  silence. 

The  whole  world  has  read  the  telegrams  sent  to 
Nicholas  II  by  ex-Emperor  William  in  those  beginning 
days  of  the  war.  Their  purport  seemed  to  be  sincere 
and  intimate,  begging  his  old  friend  and  relative  to 
stop  mobilization,  offering  to  meet  the  Emperor  for 
a  conference  which  yet  might  keep  the  peace.  His- 
torians of  the  future  will  have  to  decide  whether  those 
tenders  were  made  in  good  faith  or  whether  they  were 
part  of  the  sinister  diplomacy  of  that  wicked  war. 
Nicholas  II  did  not  believe  in  their  good  faith,  for  he 
replied  that  he  had  no  right  to  stop  mobilization  in 
Russia  when  German  mobilization  was  already  a  mat- 
ter of  fact  and  that  at  any  hour  his  frontiers  might 
be   crossed  by   German   troops.     After  this   interval 


the  Emperor  seemed  to  be  in  better  spirits.  War 
had  come  indeed,  but  even  war  was  better  than  the 
threat  and  the  uncertainty  of  the  preceding  weeks. 
The  extreme  depression  of  the  Empress,  however,  con- 
tinued unrelieved.  Up  to  the  last  moment  she  hoped 
against  hope,  and  when  the  German  formal  declaration 
of  war  was  announced  she  gave  way  to  a  perfect 
passion  of  weeping,  repeating  to  me  through  her  tears : 
"This  is  the  end  of  everything."  The  state  visit  of 
their  Majesties  to  Petrograd  soon  after  the  declara- 
tion really  seemed  to  justify  the  Emperor's  belief  that 
the  war  would  arouse  the  national  spirit,  so  long  latent, 
in  the  Russian  people.  Never  again  do  I  expect  to 
behold  such  a  sight  as  the  streets  of  Petrograd  pre- 
sented on  that  day.  To  say  that  the  streets  were 
crowded,  thronged,  massed,  does  not  half  express  it. 
I  do  not  believe  that  one  single  able-bodied  person  in 
the  whole  city  remained  at  home  during  the  hours  spent 
in  the  capital  by  the  Sovereigns.  The  streets  were  al- 
most literally  impassable,  and  the  Imperial  motor 
cars,  moving  at  snail's  pace  from  quay  to  palace 
through  that  frenzied  sea  of  people,  cheering,  sing- 
ing the  national  hymn,  calling  down  blessings  on  the 
Emperor,  was  something  that  will  live  forever  in  the 
memories  of  all  who  witnessed  it.  The  Imperial 
cortege  was  able,  thanks  to  the  police,  to  reach  the 
Winter  Palace  at  last,  but  many  of  the  suite  were 
halted  by  the  crowds  at  the  entrance  to  the  great  square 
in  front  of  the  palace  and  had  to  enter  at  a  side  door 
opening  from  the  small  garden  to  the  west. 

Inside  the  palace  the  crowd  was  relatively  as  great 
as  that  on  the  outside.     Apparently  every  man  and 


woman  who  had  the  right  to  appear  at  Court  were 
massed  in  the  corridors,  the  staircases,  and  the  state 
apartments.  Slowly  their  Majesties  made  their  way 
to  the  great  Salle  de  Nicholas,  the  largest  hall  in  the 
palace,  and  there  for  several  hours  they  stood  receiv- 
ing the  most  extraordinary  tokens  of  homage  from 
thousands  of  officials,  ministers,  and  members  of  the 
noblesse,  both  men  and  women.  Te  Deums  were  sung, 
cheers  and  acclamations  arose,  and  as  the  Emperor 
and  Empress  moved  slowly  through  the  crowds  men 
and  women  threw  themselves  on  their  knees,  kissing 
the  hands  of  their  Sovereigns  with  tears  and  fervent 
expressions  of  loyalty.  Standing  with  others  of  the 
suite  in  the  Halle  de  Concert,  I  watched  this  remark- 
able scene,  and  I  listened  to  the  historic  speech  of  the 
Emperor  which  ended  with  the  assurance  that  never 
would  there  be  an  end  to  Russian  military  effort  until 
the  last  German  was  expelled  from  the  beloved  soil. 
From  the  Salle  de  Nicholas  the  Sovereigns  passed  to  a 
balcony  overlooking  the  great  square.  There  with  the 
Tsarevitch  at  their  side  they  faced  the  wildly  exulting 
people  v/ho  with  one  accord  dropped  to  their  knees 
with  mute  gestures  of  love  and  obedience.  Then  as 
countless  flags  waved  and  dipped  there  arose  from 
the  lips  and  hearts  of  that  vast  assembly  the  moving 
strains  of  our  great  hymn:   "God  Save  the  Tsar." 

Thus  in  a  passion  of  renewed  love  and  patriotism 
began  in  Russia  the  war  of  1914-  That  same  day  the 
family  returned  to  Peterhof,  the  Emperor  almost  im- 
mediately leaving  for  the  casernes  to  bid  farewell  to 
regiments  leaving  for  the  front.  As  for  the  Empress, 
she  became  overnight  a  changed  being.     Every  bodily 


ill  and  weakness  forgotten,  she  began  at  once  an  ex- 
tensive plan  for  a  system  of  hospitals  and  sanitary 
trains  for  the  dreadful  roll  of  wounded  which  she  knew 
must  begin  with  the  first  battle.  Her  projected  chain 
of  hospitals  and  sanitary  centers  reached  from  Petro- 
grad  and  Moscow  to  Charkoff  and  Odessa  in  the  ex- 
treme south  of  Russia.  The  center  of  her  personal 
activity  was  fixed  in  a  large  group  of  evacuation  hos- 
pitals in  and  around  Tsarskoe  Selo,  and  there,  after 
bidding  farewell  to  my  only  brother,  who  immediately 
left  for  the  southern  front,  I  joined  the  Empress. 
Already  her  plans  were  so  far  matured  that  ten  sani- 
tary trains,  bearing  her  name  and  the  children's,  were 
in  active  service,  and  something  like  eighty-five  hos- 
pitals were  open,  or  preparing  to  open,  in  Tsarskoe 
Selo,  Peterhof,  Pavlovsk,  Louga,  Sablino,  and  neigh- 
boring towns.  The  Empress,  her  two  older  daughters, 
and  myself  immediately  enrolled  under  a  competent 
woman  surgeon.  Dr.  Gedroiz,  as  student  nurses,  spend- 
ing two  hours  of  every  afternoon  under  theoretical  in- 
struction, and  the  entire  hours  of  the  morning  in  ward 
work  in  the  hospitals.  For  the  benefit  of  those  who 
imagine  that  the  work  of  a  royal  nurse  is  more  or  less 
in  the  nature  of  play  I  will  describe  the  average  routine 
of  one  of  those  mornings  in  which  I  was  privileged 
to  assist  the  Empress  Alexandra  Feodorovna  and  the 
Grand  Duchesses  Olga  and  Tatiana,  the  two  last- 
named  girls  of  nineteen  and  seventeen.  Please  re- 
member that  we  were  then  only  nurses  in  training. 
Arriving  at  the  hospital  shortly  after  nine  in  the  morn- 
ing we  went  directly  to  the  receiving  wards  where  the 
men  were  brought  in  after  having  first-aid  treatment  in 


the  trenches  and  field  hospitals.  They  had  traveled 
far  and  were  usually  disgustingly  dirty  as  well  as  blood- 
stained and  suffering.  Our  hands  scrubbed  in  anti- 
septic solutions  we  began  the  work  of  washing,  clean- 
ing, and  bandaging  maimed  bodies,  mangled  faces, 
blinded  eyes,  all  the  indescribable  mutilations  of  what 
is  called  civilized  warfare.  These  we  did  under  the 
orders  and  the  direction  of  trained  nurses  who  had  the 
skill  to  do  the  things  our  lack  of  experience  prevented 
us  from  doing.  As  we  became  accustomed  to  the  work, 
and  as  both  the  Empress  and  Tatiana  had  extraordi- 
nary ability  as  nurses,  we  were  given  more  important 
work.  I  speak  of  the  Empress  and  Tatiana  especially 
because  Olga  within  two  months  was  almost  too  ex- 
hausted and  too  unnerved  to  continue,  and  my  abilities 
proved  to  be  more  in  the  executive  and  organizing  than 
in  the  nursing  end  of  hospital  work.  I  have  seen  the 
Empress  of  Russia  in  the  operating  room  of  a  hospital 
holding  ether  cones,  handling  sterilized  Instruments, 
assisting  in  the  most  difficult  operations,  taking  from 
the  hands  of  the  busy  surgeons  amputated  legs  and 
arms,  removing  bloody  and  even  vermin-infected  dress- 
ings, enduring  all  the  sights  and  smells  and  agonies  of 
that  most  dreadful  of  all  places,  a  military  hospital 
in  the  midst  of  war.  She  did  her  work  with  the  hu- 
mility and  the  gentle  tirelessness  of  one  dedicated  by 
God  to  a  life  of  ministration.  Tatiana  was  almost  as 
skinful  and  quite  as  devoted  as  her  mother,  and 
complained  only  that  on  account  of  her  youth  she  was 
spared  some  of  the  more  trying  cases.  The  Empress 
was  spared  nothing,  nor  did  she  wish  to  be.  I  think 
I  never  saw  her  happier  than  on  the  day,  at  the  end  of 


our  two  months'  intensive  training,  she  marched  at  the 
head  of  the  procession  of  nurses  to  receive  the  red 
cross  and  the  diploma  of  a  certificated  war  nurse. 

From  that  time  on  our  days  were  literally  devoted 
to  toil.  We  rose  at  seven  in  the  morning  and  very 
often  it  was  an  hour  or  two  after  midnight  before  we 
sought  our  beds.  The  Empress,  after  a  morning  in 
the  operating  room  of  one  hospital,  snatched  a  hasty 
luncheon  and  spent  the  rest  of  the  day  in  a  round  of 
inspection  of  other  hospitals.  Every  morning  early 
I  met  her  in  the  little  Church  of  Our  Lady  of 
Znamenie,  where  we  went  for  prayers,  driving  after- 
wards to  the  hospitals.  On  the  days  when  the  sanitary 
trains  arrived  with  their  ghastly  loads  of  wounded  we 
often  worked  from  nine  until  three  without  stopping 
for  food  or  rest.  The  Empress  literally  shirked  noth- 
ing. Sometimes  when  an  unfortunate  soldier  was  told 
by  the  surgeons  that  he  must  suffer  an  amputation  or 
undergo  an  operation  which  might  be  fatal,  he  turned 
in  his  bed  calling  out  her  name  in  anguished  appeal. 
"Tsaritsa !  Stand  near  me.  Hold  my  hand  that  I 
may  have  courage."  Were  the  man  an  officer  or  a 
simple  peasant  boy  she  always  answered  the  appeal. 
With  her  arm  under  his  head  she  would  speak  words 
of  comfort  and  encouragement,  praying  with  him  while 
preparations  for  the  operation  were  in  progress,  her 
own  hands  assisting  in  the  merciful  work  of  anesthesia. 
The  men  idolized  her,  watched  for  her  coming, 
reached  out  bandaged  hands  to  touch  her  as  she 
passed,  smiling  happily  as  she  bent  over  their  pillows. 
Even  the  dying  smiled  as  she  knelt  beside  their  beds 
murmuring  last  words  of  prayer  and  consolation. 


In  the  last  days  of  November,  19 14,  the  Empress 
left  Tsarskoe  Selo  for  an  informal  Inspection  of  hos- 
pitals within  the  radius  of  her  especially  chosen  dis- 
trict. Dressed  in  the  gray  uniform  of  a  nursing  sister, 
accompanied  by  her  older  daughters,  myself,  and  a 
small  suite,  she  went  to  towns  surrounding  Tsarskoe 
Selo  and  southward  as  far  as  Pskoff,  staff  headquarters, 
where  the  younger  Grand  Duchess  Marie  Pavlovna 
was  a  hospital  nurse.  From  there  she  proceeded  to 
Vllna,  Kovno,  and  Grodno,  in  which  city  she  met  the 
Emperor  and  with  him  went  on  to  Dvlnsk.  The  en- 
thusiasm and  affection  with  which  the  Empress  was 
met  in  all  these  places  and  in  stations  along  the  route 
beggars  description.  A  hundred  incidents  of  the 
journey  crowd  my  memory,  each  one  worth  the  tell- 
ing had  I  space  to  include  them  in  this  narrative,  I 
remember,  for  example,  the  remarkable  scene  in  the 
big  fortress  of  Kovno,  where  acres  of  hospital  beds 
were  assembled  and  where  the  tall  figure  of  the  Em- 
press, moving  through  those  interminable  aisles,  was 
greeted  like  the  visit  of  an  angel.  I  never  recall  that 
journey  without  remembering  the  hospital  at  Grodno, 
where  a  gallant  young  officer  lay  dying  of  his  wounds. 
Hearing  that  the  Empress  was  on  her  way  to  the  hos- 
pital, he  rallied  unexpectedly  and  declared  to  his  nurses 
that  he  was  determined  to  live  until  she  came.  Sheer 
will  power  kept  life  in  the  man's  body  until  the  Em- 
press arrived,  and  when,  at  the  door  of  the  hospital, 
she  was  told  of  his  dying  wish  to  see  her  she  hurried 
first  to  his  bedside,  kneeling  beside  it  and  receiving 
his  last  smile,  his  last  gasping  words  of  greeting  and 


After  one  very  fatiguing  day  our  train  passed  a 
sanitary  train  of  the  Union  of  Zemstvos  moving  south. 
The  Empress,  who  should  have  been  resting  in  bed  at 
the  time,  ordered  her  train  stopped  that  she  might 
visit,  to  the  surprise  and  delight  of  the  doctors,  this 
splendidly  equipped  rolling  hospital.  Another  surprise 
visit  was  to  the  estate  of  Prince  Tichkevitch,  whose 
family  supported  on  their  own  lands  a  very  efficient 
hospital  unit.  It  was  impossible  to  avoid  noticing 
how  in  the  towns  visited  by  the  Empress,  dressed  as 
a  simple  sister  of  mercy,  the  love  of  the  people  was 
most  manifest.  In  Grodno,  Dvinsk,  and  other  cities 
where  she  appeared  with  the  Emperor  there  was  plenty 
of  enthusiasm,  but  on  those  occasions  etiquette  obliged 
her  to  lay  aside  her  uniform  and  to  dress  as  the  wife 
of  the  Emperor.  Much  better  the  people  loved  her 
when  she  went  among  them  in  her  nurse's  dress,  their 
devoted  friend  and  sister.  Etiquette  forgotten,  they 
crowded  around  her,  talked  to  her  freely,  claimed  her 
as  their  own. 

Soon  after  returning  from  this  visit  of  inspection  the 
Empress  accompanied  by  Grand  Duchesses  Olga  and 
Tatiana,  General  Racine,  Commander  of  the  Palace 
Guards,  a  maid  of  honor  and  myself,  set  off  on  a 
journey  to  Moscow,  where  to  my  extreme  sorrow  and 
dismay  I  perceived  for  the  first  time  unmistakable  evi- 
dences of  a  spreading  intrigue  against  the  Imperial 
Family.  At  the  station  in  Moscow  the  Empress  was 
met  by  her  sister,  the  Grand  Duchess  Serge  and  the 
latter's  intimate  friend  and  the  executive  of  her  con- 
vent, Mme.  Gardieve.  Welcome  from  the  people 
there  was  none,  as  General  Djounkovsky,  Governor  of 


Moscow,  had  announced,  without  any  authority  what- 
soever, that  the  Empress  was  In  the  city  incognito 
and  did  not  wish  to  meet  anyone.  In  consequence  of 
this  order  we  drove  to  the  Kremlin  through  almost 
empty  streets.  Nevertheless  the  Empress  began  at 
once  the  inspection  of  hospitals,  accompanied  by  Gen- 
eral Racine  and  her  maid  of  honor,  Baroness  Bouk- 
shoevden,  daughter  of  the  Russian  Ambassador  in 
Denmark.  During  our  stay  in  Moscow  I  was  not  as 
constantly  with  the  Empress  as  usual,  our  rooms  in 
the  Kremlin  being  far  apart.  However,  General 
Odoevsky,  the  fine  old  Governor  of  the  Kremlin,  in- 
stalled a  telephone  between  our  rooms,  and  on  her  free 
evenings  the  Empress  often  summoned  me  to  sit  with 
her  in  her  dressing  room,  hung  with  light  blue  drap- 
eries and  looking  out  over  the  river  and  the  ancient 
roofs  of  Moscow.  I  lunched  and  dined  with  others 
of  the  suite  in  an  old  part  of  the  immense  palace 
known  as  the  Granovita  Palata,  and  here  occurred 
one  night  a  disagreeable  scene  in  which  General  Ra- 
cine, in  the  presence  of  the  whole  company,  admin- 
istered a  stinging  rebuke  to  General  Djounkovsky, 
Governor  of  Moscow,  for  his  responsibility  for  the 
cold  welcome  accorded  her  Majesty.  The  Governor 
turned  very  pale  but  made  no  answer  to  the  accusa- 
tion of  General  Racine.  Already  my  mind  was  in  a 
tumult  of  trouble,  more  and  more  conscious  of  the 
atmosphere  of  intrigue,  plots,  and  conspiracies,  the 
end  of  which  I  could  not  see.  In  the  coldness  of 
the  Grand  Duchess  Serge,  in  my  childhood  such  a 
friend  to  me  and  to  my  family,  her  chilly  refusal  to 
listen  to  her  sister's  denial  of  preposterous  tales  of 


the  political  Influence  exerted  by  Rasputlne,  by  the 
general  animosity  towards  myself,  I  began  dimly  to 
realize  that  there  was  a  plot  to  strike  at  her  Majesty 
through  Rasputlne  and  myself.  There  was  absolutely 
nothing  I  could  do,  and  I  had  to  watch  with  tearless 
grief  the  breach  between  the  sisters  grow  wider  and 
deeper  until  their  association  was  robbed  of  most  of 
its  old  intimacy.  I  knew  well  enough,  or  I  was  con- 
vinced that  I  knew,  that  the  dismissed  maid  of  honor. 
Mile,  Tutcheff,  was  at  the  bottom  of  the  whole  affair, 
her  family  being  among  the  most  prominent  in  Mos- 
cow.   But  I  could  say  nothing,  do  nothing. 

With  great  relief  we  saw  our  train  leave  Moscow 
for  a  round  of  visits  in  surrounding  territory,  and  here 
again  the  enthusiasm  with  which  the  people  welcomed 
the  Empress  was  unbounded.  In  the  town  of  Toula, 
for  example,  and  a  little  farther  on  in  Orel,  the  people 
were  so  tumultuous  in  their  greeting,  they  crowded 
so  closely  around  their  adored  Empress,  that  our  party 
could  scarcely  make  our  way  to  church  and  hospital. 
Once,  following  the  Empress  out  of  a  church,  carrying 
in  my  hands  an  ikon  which  had  been  presented  to  her, 
I  was  fairly  overthrown  by  the  crowding  multitude 
and  fell  halfway  down  the  high  flight  of  steps  before 
friendly  hands  could  get  me  to  my  feet.  I  did  not  mind 
this,  being  only  too  rejoiced  at  evidences  of  love  and 
devotion  which  the  simple  people  of  Russia  felt  for 
their  Empress.  In  one  town  where  there  were  no 
modern  carriages  she  was  dragged  along  In  an  old 
coach  of  state  such  as  a  medieval  bishop  might  have 
used,  the  coach  being  quite  covered  with  flowers  and 
branches.     In  the  town  of  Charkoff  hundreds  of  stu- 


dents  met  the  train  bearing  aloft  portraits  of  her 
Majesty.  In  the  small  town  of  Belgorod,  where  the 
Empress  wished  to  stop  in  order  to  visit  a  very  sacred 
monastery,  I  shall  never  forget  the  joy  with  which 
the  sleepy  ischvostiks  hurried  through  the  darkness  of 
the  night  to  drive  us  the  three  or  four  versts  from  the 
railway  to  the  monastery.  Nor  can  I  forget  the  ar- 
rival at  the  monastery,  the  sudden  flare  of  lights  as 
the  monks  hastened  out  to  meet  and  greet  their  Sov- 
ereign Empress.  These  were  the  people,  the  plain 
people  of  Russia,  and  the  difference  between  them  and 
the  plotting  officials  we  had  left  behind  in  Moscow 
was  a  sad  and  a  terrible  contrast. 

On  December  6  (Russian  Calendar),  the  birthday 
of  the  Emperor,  we  met  his  train  at  Voronezh,  where 
our  parties  joined  in  visits  to  Tambov,  Riasan,  and 
other  towns  where  the  people  gave  their  Majesties 
wonderful  greetings.  In  Tambov  the  Emperor  and 
Empress  visited  and  had  tea  with  a  charming  woman 
of  advanced  age,  Mme.  Alexandra  Narishkin,  friend 
of  Alexander  III  and  of  many  distinguished  men  of  her 
time.  Mme.  Narishkin,  horrible  to  relate,  was  after- 
wards murdered  by  the  Bolsheviki,  neither  her  liberal 
mind  nor  her  long  services  to  her  country,  and  es- 
pecially to  her  humble  friends  in  Tambov,  sparing  her 
from  the  blood  lust  of  the  destroyers  of  Russia. 

The  journey  of  their  Majesties  terminated  at  Mos- 
cow, where  the  younger  children  of  the  family  awaited 
them.  I  can  still  see  the  slim,  erect  figure  of  Alexei 
standing  at  salute  on  the  station  platform,  and  the 
rosy,  eager  faces  of  Marie  and  Anastasie  welcoming 
their  parents  after  their  long  separation.     The  united 


family  drove  to  the  Kremlin,  this  time  not  quite  so 
inhospitably  received.  In  the  days  following  the  Mos- 
cow hospitals  and  military  organizations  were  visited 
in  turn,  and  we  included  in  these  visits  out  of  town  ac- 
tivities of  the  Moscow  Zemstvo  (county  council),  can- 
teens, etc.  In  one  of  these  centers  our  host  was  Prince 
Lvoff,  afterwards  active  in  demanding  the  abdication 
of  the  Tsar,  and  I  remember  with  what  deference  he 
received  their  Majesties,  and  the  especial  attention  he 
paid  to  the  Tsarevitch,  whose  autograph  he  begged 
for  the  visitors'  book.  Before  we  left  Moscow  the 
Empress  paid  two  visits,  one  to  the  old  Countess 
Apraxin,  sister  of  the  former  first  lady  in  waiting. 
Princess  Galatzine  and,  with  the  Emperor,  to  the  Met- 
ropolitan Makari,  a  good  man,  but  mercilessly  perse- 
cuted during  the  Revolution. 

There  was  one  small  but  significant  incident  which 
happened  after  our  return  to  Tsarskoe  Selo,  near  the 
end  of  the  year  19 14.  It  failed  of  its  intended  effect, 
but  had  it  not  failed  it  might  have  had  a  far-reaching 
influence  on  world  events  at  that  time.  Looking  back 
on  it  now,  I  sometimes  wonder  exactly  what  lay  back 
of  the  plot,  and  who  was  responsible  for  its  inception. 
One  evening  late  in  the  year  I  received  a  visit  from 
two  war  nurses  lately  released  from  a  German  prison 
where  they  had  been  taken  with  a  portion  of  a  captured 
Russian  regiment.  In  much  perturbation  of  spirit 
these  nurses  told  me  of  a  third  nurse  who  had  been 
captured  and  imprisoned  with  them.  This  woman  they 
had  come  to  distrust  as  she  had  been  accorded  many 
special  favors  by  the  Germans.  She  had  been  given 
good  food  and  even  champagne,  and  when  the  nurses 


were  released  she  alone  was  conveyed  to  the  frontier 
in  a  motor  car,  the  others  going  on  foot.  While  In 
prison  this  woman  had  boasted  that  she  expected  to 
be  received  by  the  Emperor,  to  whom  she  proposed  to 
present  the  flag  of  the  captured  regiment.  The  other 
nurses  declared  that  in  their  opinion  his  Majesty 
should  be  warned  of  the  woman's  dubious  character. 
Hardly  knowing  what  to  think  of  such  an  extraor- 
dinary story,  I  thought  it  my  duty  to  lay  the  matter 
before  General  Voyeikoff,  Chief  Commander  of  the 
Palace  Guards,  and  when  I  learned  from  him  that 
the  Emperor  had  consented  to  receive  the  nurse  I 
begged  that  the  woman  be  investigated  before  being 
allowed  to  enter  the  palace.  The  Emperor  showed 
some  vexation,  but  he  consented.  When  General 
Voyeikoff  examined  the  woman  she  made  a  display  of 
great  frankness,  handing  him  a  revolver  which  she 
said  it  had  been  necessary  for  her  to  carry  at  the 
front.  General  Voyeikoff,  thinking  it  strange  that  the 
weapon  had  not  been  taken  away  from  her  by  the 
Germans,  immediately  ordered  a  search  of  her  effects. 
In  the  handbag  which  she  would  certainly  have  carried 
with  her  to  the  palace  were  found  two  more  loaded 
revolvers.  The  woman  was,  of  course,  arrested,  and 
although  I  cannot  explain  why,  her  arrest  caused  great 
indignation  among  certain  members  of  the  aristocracy 
who  previously  had  received  her  at  their  homes.  The 
whole  onus  of  her  arrest  was  placed  on  me,  although 
the  Emperor  declared  his  belief  that  she  was  a  Ger- 
man spy  sent  to  assassinate  him.  That  she  was  a  spy 
I  have  never  doubted,  but  in  my  own  mind  I  have  never 
even  tried  to  guess  from  whence  she  came. 


AVERY  few  days  after  the  events  chronicled  in 
the  last  chapter  I  became  the  victim  of  a  railroad 
accident  which  brought  me  to  the  threshold  of  death 
and  for  many  months  made  it  impossible  for  me  to 
follow  the  events  of  the  war,  or  the  growing  con- 
spiracy against  the  Sovereigns.  At  a  little  past  five 
o'clock  of  the  afternoon  of  January  2,  19 15,  I  took 
the  train  at  Tsarskoe  for  a  short  visit  to  my  parents 
in  Petrograd.  With  me  in  my  carriage  was  Mme. 
Shiff,  a  sister  of  a  distinguished  officer  of  Cuirassiers. 
We  sat  talking  the  usual  commonplaces  of  travel  when 
suddenly,  without  a  moment's  notice,  there  came  a 
tremendous  shock  and  a  deafening  crash,  and  I  felt 
myself  thrown  violently  forward,  my  head  towards 
the  roof  of  the  carriage,  and  both  legs  held  as  in  a 
vise  in  the  coils  of  the  steam-heating  apparatus.  The 
overturned  carriage  lurched  and  broke  in  two  like  an 
eggshell  and  I  felt  the  bones  of  my  left  leg  snap 
sharply.  So  intense  was  the  pain  that  I  momentarily 
lost  consciousness.  Too  soon  my  senses  returned  to 
me  and  I  found  myself  firmly  wedged  in  the  wreck- 
age of  wood  and  iron,  a  great  bar  of  steel  crushing  my 
face,  and  my  mouth  so  choked  with  blood  that  I  could 
not  utter  a  sound.  All  I  could  do  in  my  agony  was 
silently  to  pray  that  God  would  give  me  the  relief  of 



a  quick  death,  for  I  could  not  believe  that  any  human 
being  could  endure  such  pain  and  live. 

After  what  seemed  to  me  an  interminable  length 
of  time  I  felt  the  pressure  on  my  face  removed  and  a 
kind  voice  asked:  "Who  lies  here?"  As  I  managed 
to  breathe  my  name  the  rescuers  exclaimed  in  aston- 
ishment and  alarm,  and  immediately  began  to  endeavor 
to  extricate  me  from  my  agonizing  position.  By  means 
of  ropes  passed  under  my  arms  and  using  great  care 
and  gentleness  they  ultimately  got  me  free  and  laid  me 
on  the  grass.  In  a  moment's  flash  I  recognized  one 
as  a  Cossack  of  the  Emperor's  special  guard,  an  ex- 
cellent man  named  Lichatchieff,  and  the  other  as  a 
soldier  of  the  railway  battalion.  Then  I  fainted. 
Ripping  loose  one  of  the  doors  of  the  railway  car- 
riage, the  men  placed  me  on  It  and  carried  me  to  a 
near-by  hut  already  crowded  with  wounded  and  dying. 
Regaining  consciousness  for  a  moment,  I  begged  in 
whispers  that  Lichatchieff  would  telephone  my  parents 
in  Petrograd  and  their  Majesties  at  the  palace.  This 
the  good  fellow  did  without  delay,  and  he  also  brought 
to  my  corner  one  of  the  surgeons  summoned  to  the 
wreck.  The  man  gave  me  a  rapid  examination  and 
said  briefly:  "Do  not  disturb  her.  She  is  dying." 
He  left  to  attend  to  more  hopeful  cases,  but  the  faith- 
ful soldiers  still  knelt  beside  me,  straightening  my 
crushed  and  broken  legs  and  wiping  the  blood  from  my 
lips.  In  about  two  hours  another  doctor,  this  time  the 
surgeon  Gedroiz,  under  whom  the  Empress,  her 
daughters,  and  myself  had  taken  our  nurses'  training, 
approached  the  corner  where  I  lay.  I  looked  with  a 
kind  of  terror  into  the  face  of  this  woman,  for  I  knew 


her  to  be  no  friend  of  mine.  Simply  giving  my 
wounded  head  a  superficial  examination  she  said  care- 
lessly that  I  was  a  hopeless  case,  and  left  me  without 
the  slightest  attempt  to  soothe  my  pain.  Not  until 
ten  o'clock  that  night,  four  hours  after  the  collision 
which  had  wrecked  two  trains,  did  any  help  reach  me. 
At  that  hour  arrived  General  Racine  from  the  palace 
with  orders  from  their  Majesties  to  do  everything  pos- 
sible in  my  behalf.  At  his  imperative  commands!  I 
was  again  placed  on  a  stretcher  and  carried  to  a  relief 
train  made  up  of  cattle  cars.  At  the  moment  m.y  poor 
father  and  mother  arrived  from  Petrograd  and  the 
last  things  I  remember  were  their  sobs  and  a  teaspoon- 
ful  of  brandy  mercifully  poured  down  my  throat. 

At  the  end  of  the  journey  to  Tsarskoe  Selo  I  dimly 
recognized  the  Empress  and  the  four  Grand  Duch- 
esses who  had  come  to  the  station  to  meet  the  train. 
Their  faces  were  full  of  sympathy  and  grief,  and  as 
they  bent  over  me  I  found  strength  to  whisper  to  them : 
"I  am  dying."  I  believed  it  because  the  doctors  had 
said  so,  and  because  my  pain  was  so  great.  Then  came 
the  ordeal  of  being  lifted  into  the  ambulance  and  the 
half-consciousness  that  the  Empress  was  there  too, 
holding  my  head  on  her  knees  and  begging  me  to  have 
courage.  After  that  came  an  interval  of  darkness  out 
of  which  I  awoke  in  bed  and  almost  free  from  pain. 
The  Empress  who,  with  my  parents,  remained  near 
me,  asked  me  if  I  would  like  to  see  the  Emperor.  Of 
course  I  replied  that  I  would,  and  when  he  came  I 
pressed  the  hand  he  gave  me.  Dr.  Gedroiz,  who  was 
in  charge  of  the  ward,  told  everyone  coldly  to  take 
leave  of  me  as  I  could  not  possibly  live  until  morning. 



"Is  it  so  hopeless?"  asked  the  Emperor.  "She  still 
has  some  strength  in  her  hand." 

Later  on,  I  do  not  know  exactly  when,  I  opened  my 
eyes  quite  clearly,  and  saw  standing  beside  my  bed 
the  tall,  gaunt  form  of  Rasputine.  He  looked  at  me 
fixedly  and  said  in  a  calm  voice:  "She  will  live,  but 
will  always  be  a  cripple."  A  prediction  which  was 
literally  fulfilled,  for  to  this  day  I  can  walk  only  slowly 
and  with  the  aid  of  a  stout  stick.  I  have  been  told 
that  Rasputine  recalled  me  from  unconsciousness,  but 
of  his  words  I  know  only  what  I  have  recorded. 

The  next  morning  I  was  operated  on  and  for  the 
six  weeks  following  I  suppose  I  suffered  as  greatly  as 
one  can  and  live.  My  left  leg  which  had  sustained 
a  double  fracture,  troubled  me  less  than  my  back  and 
my  right  leg  which  had  been  horribly  wrenched  and 
lacerated.  My  head  wounds  were  also  intensely  pain- 
ful and  for  a  time  I  suffered  from  inflammation  of  the 
brain.  My  parents,  the  Empress,  and  the  children 
came  every  day  to  see  me,  but  despite  their  presence 
the  neglect  and  unkindness  of  Dr.  Gedroiz  continued. 
The  suggestion  of  the  Empress  that  her  trusted 
physician.  Dr.  Federoff,  be  brought  into  consultation 
was  rudely  repulsed  by  this  woman,  of  whom  I  may 
finally  say  that  she  is  now  in  high  favor  with  the 
Bolsheviki  whose  ranks  she  joined  in  the  autumn  of 
19 17.  Waited  upon  by  none  but  the  most  inex- 
perienced nurses,  I  do  not  know  what  might  have  be- 
come of  me  had  not  my  mother  brought  to  the  hospital 
an  old  family  nurse  whom  she  absolutely  insisted 
should  take  charge  of  me.  Things  went  a  little  better 
after  this,  but  happy  was  I  when  at  the  end  of  the  sixth 


week,  against  the  will  of  Dr.  Gedroiz,  I  left  that 
wretched  hospital  and  was  removed  to  my  own  home. 
There  in  the  peace  and  security  of  my  comfortable  bed- 
room I  enjoyed  for  the  first  time  since  my  accident 
quiet  and  refreshing  sleep. 

It  seems  strange  that  the  hostile  and  envious  Court 
circle  had  deeply  resented  the  daily  visits  of  the  Em- 
peror and  Empress  to  my  bedside.     To  placate  the 
gossipers  the   Emperor,  before  visiting  me,   used  to 
make  the  rounds  of  all  the  wards.     In  spite  of  it  all 
I  had  many  visitors  and  many  daily  inquiries  from 
the  Empress  Dowager  and  others.     Very  soon  after 
my  arrival  home  I  was  examined  by  skillful  surgeons, 
among  them  Drs.  Federoff  and  Gagentorn,  who  pro- 
nounced my  crushed  right  leg  to  be  in  a  very  bad  con- 
dition and  placed  it  in  a  plaster  cast,  where  it  remained 
for  two  months.     The  Empress  visited  me  daily,  but 
the  Emperor  I  seldom  saw  because,  as  I  learned  in- 
directly, the  War  was  going  very  badly  on  the  Russian 
front,   and  the  Emperor  was  almost  constantly  with 
the  armies.     In  the  last  week  before  Lent  he  came 
to  my  bedside  with  the  Empress,  in  accordance  with  an 
old  Russian  custom,  before  confession,  to  beg  my  for- 
giveness for  possible  wrongs  done  me  during  the  year 
past.     Their  pious  humility  and  also  the  white   and 
careworn  face  of  the  Emperor  filled  me  with  emotion 
which  later  events  served  only  to  increase,  for  very 
momentous  and  trying  hours  were  even  then  crowding 
the  destiny  of  Nicholas  II,  Tsar  of  all  the  Russias. 

A  soldier  of  the  sanitary  corps,  a  man  named  Jouk, 
had  been  assigned  to  duty  at  my  house,  and  as  soon  as 
I  was  able  to  leave  my  bed  he  took  me  daily  in  a 


wheeled  chair  to  church,  and  to  the  palace.  This  was 
the  summer  of  1915,  a  time  of  great  tribulation  for 
the  Russian  Army,  as  every  student  of  the  World  War 
is  aware.  Grand  Duke  Nicholai  Nicholaievitch  was 
pursuing  a  policy  which  rightly  disturbed  the  Emperor, 
who  constantly  complained  that  the  commander  in 
chief  of  his  armies  sent  the  men  forward  without 
proper  ammunition,  without  artillery  support,  and  with 
no  adequate  preparations  for  safe  retreat.  Disaster 
after  disaster  confirmed  the  Emperor's  fears.  For- 
tress after  fortress  fell  to  the  Germans.  Kovno  fell. 
Novogeorgiesk  fell,  and  finally  Warsaw  itself  fell.  It 
was  a  terrible  day  when  the  Emperor,  white  and 
trembling,  brought  this  news  to  the  Empress  as  we 
sat  at  tea  on  her  balcony  in  the  warm  autumn  air.  The 
Emperor  was  fairly  overcome  with  grief  and  humilia- 
tion as  he  finished  his  tale.  "It  cannot  go  on  any 
longer  like  this,"  he  exclaimed  bitterly,  and  then  he 
went  on  to  declare  that  in  spite  of  ministerial  oppo- 
sition he  was  determined  to  take  personal  command 
of  the  army  himself.  Only  that  day  Krivosheim,  Min- 
ister of  Agriculture,  had  addressed  him  on  the  im- 
possible condition  of  Russian  internal  affairs. 
Nicholai  Nicholaievitch,  not  content  with  military  su- 
premacy, had  assumed  almost  complete  authority  over 
all  the  business  of  the  Empire.  There  were  in  fact 
two  governments  in  Russia,  orders  being  constantly 
issued  from  military  headquarters  without  the  knowl- 
edge, much  less  the  consent,  of  the  Emperor. 

Very  soon  after  the  fall  of  Warsaw  it  became  clear 
to  the  Emperor  that  if  he  were  to  retain  any  dignity 
whatever  he  would  have  to  depose  Nicholai  Nicholaie- 


vitch,  and  I  wish  here  to  state,  without  any  reservation 
whatever,  that  this  decision  was  reached  by  the  Em- 
peror without  advice  from  Rasputine,  myself,  or  any 
other  person.  Even  the  Empress,  although  she  ap- 
proved her  husband's  resolution,  had  no  part  in  form- 
ing it.  M.  Gilliard  has  written  that  the  Emperor 
was  forced  to  his  action  by  bad  advisers,  especially 
the  Empress  and  Rasputine,  but  in  this  he  is  abso- 
lutely mistaken.  M.  Gilliard  writes  that  the  Emperor 
was  told  that  Grand  Duke  Nicholai  Nicholaievitch 
was  plotting  to  confine  his  Sovereign  in  a  monastery. 
I  do  not  believe  for  a  moment  that  Rasputine  ever 
made  such  a  statement,  but  he  did,  in  my  presence, 
warn  the  Emperor  to  watch  Nicholai  Nicholaievitch 
and  his  wife  who,  he  alleged,  were  at  their  old  prad- 
tices  of  table-tipping  and  spiritism,  which  he  thought 
to  be  a  highly  dangerous  way  to  conduct  a  war  against 
the  Germans.  As  for  me,  I  repeat  that  never  once 
did  I  say  or  do  anything  to  influence  the  Emperor  in 
state  affairs.  I  wish  I  could  here  reproduce  a  letter 
written  to  my  father  by  the  Emperor  in  which  all 
the  reasons  for  taking  the  step  he  did  were  explained. 
The  letter,  alas !  was  taken  from  me  by  the  Bolsheviki 
after  my  father's  death,  and  I  suppose  was  destroyed. 
On  the  evening  when  the  Emperor  met  his  ministers 
to  announce  his  great  decision  I  dined  at  the  palace, 
and  I  was  deeply  impressed  with  the  firmness  of  the 
Emperor's  decision  not  to  be  overborne  by  arguments 
or  vain  fears  on  the  part  of  timid  statesmen.  As  he 
arose  to  go  to  the  council  chamber  the  Emperor  begged 
us  to  pray  for  him  that  his  resolution  should  not  falter. 
"You  do  not  know  how  hard  it  has  been  for  me  to 


refrain  from  taking  an  active  part  in  the  command  of 
my  beloved  army,"  he  said  at  parting.  Overcome  and 
speechless,  I  pressed  into  his  hand  a  tiny  ikon  which 
I  had  always  worn  around  my  neck,  and  during  the 
long  council  which  followed  the  Empress  and  I  prayed 
fervently  for  the  Emperor  and  for  our  distracted 

As  the  time  passed  the  Empress's  anxiety  grew  so 
great  that,  throwing  a  cloak  around  her  shoulders  and 
beckoning  me  to  follow,  she  went  out  on  the  balcony, 
one  end  of  which  gave  on  the  council  room.  Through 
the  lace  of  the  window  curtains  we  could  see  the  Em- 
peror sitting  very  upright,  surrounded  by  his  ministers, 
one  of  whom  was  on  his  feet  speaking  earnestly.  Our 
eleven  o'clock  tea  was  served  long  before  the  Emperor, 
entirely  exhausted,  returned  from  the  conference. 
Throwing  himself  in  an  armchair,  he  stretched  him- 
self out  like  a  man  spent  after  extreme  exertion,  and 
I  could  see  that  his  brow  and  hands  were  wet  with 

"They  did  not  move  me,"  he  said  in  a  low,  tense 
voice.  "I  listened  to  all  their  long,  dull  speeches,  and 
when  all  had  finished  I  said:  'Gentlemen,  in  two  days 
from  now  I  leave  for  the  Stavka.'  "  As  he  repeated 
the  words  his  face  lightened,  his  shoulders  straight- 
ened, and  he  appeared  like  a  man  whose  strength  was 
suddenly  renewed. 

Yet  one  more  struggle  was  before  him.  The  Em- 
press Dowager,  whom  the  Emperor  visited  immedi- 
ately after  the  ministerial  conference,  was  by  this  tim.e 
thoroughly  imbued  with  the  German-spy  mania  in 
which  the  Empress  and  Rasputine,  not  to  mention  my- 


self,  were  involved.  She  believed  the  whole  preposter- 
ous tissue  of  lies  which  had  been  built  up  and  with  all 
her  might  she  struggled  against  the  Emperor's  de- 
cision to  assume  supreme  command  of  the  army.  For 
over  two  hours  a  painful  scene  was  enacted  in  the  Em- 
press Dowager's  gardens,  he  trying  to  show  her  that 
utter  disaster  threatened  the  army  and  the  Empire 
under  existing  conditions,  and  she  repeating  over  and 
over  again  the  wicked  slanders  of  German  plots  which 
she  insisted  that  he  was  furthering.  In  the  end  the 
Emperor  left,  terribly  shaken,  but  with  his  resolution 
as  strong  as  ever. 

Before  leaving  for  staff  headquarters  the  Emperor 
and  his  family  took  communion  together  at  the  Feo- 
dorovsky  Cathedral  and  at  their  last  meal  together 
he  showed  himself  calm  and  collected  as  he  had  not 
been  for  some  time;  in  fact,  not  since  the  beginning  of 
the  last  disastrous  campaign.  From  headquarters 
the  Emperor  wrote  full  accounts  of  the  scenes  which 
took  place  when  he  assumed  personal  command,  and 
of  the  furious  anger,  not  only  of  the  deposed  Nicholai 
Nicholaievitch  but  of  all  his  staff,  "Every  one  of 
whom,"  wrote  the  Emperor,  "has  the  ambition  him- 
self to  govern  Russia." 

I  am  not  attempting  to  write  a  military  history 
of  those  years,  and  I  am  quite  aware  of  the  fact  that 
most  published  accounts  of  the  Russian  Army  repre- 
sent Nicholai  Nicholaievitch  as  the  devoted  friend 
of  the  Allies  and  the  Emperor  as  the  pliant  tool  of 
German  influences.  It  is  undeniable,  however,  that  al- 
most as  soon  as  Nicholai  Nicholaievitch  had  been  sent 
to  the  Caucasus  and  the  Emperor  took  command  of 


the  Western  Army  a  marked  improvement  in  the  gen- 
eral morale  became  apparent.  Retreat  at  various 
points  was  stopped,  the  whole  front  strengthened,  and 
a  new  spirit  of  loyalty  to  the  Empire  was  manifest. 

I  wish  to  interpolate  here,  in  connection  with  the 
Emperor's  personal  command  of  the  army,  a  word  on 
the  immense  service  he  rendered  it  at  the  beginning 
of  the  War  in  suppressing  the  manufacture  and  sale 
of  vodka,  the  curse  of  the  Russian  peasantry.  The 
Emperor  did  this  entirely  on  his  own  initiative,  without 
advice  from  his  ministers  or  the  Grand  Dukes.  The 
Emperor  said  at  the  time:  "At  least  by  this  I  will  be 
remembered,"  and  he  was,  because  the  condition  of  the 
peasants,  the  town  workers,  and  of  course  the  army 
became  at  once  immeasurably  better.  In  the  midst  of 
war-time  privations  the  savings-banks  accounts  of  the 
people  increased  enormously,  and  in  the  army  there 
was  none  of  the  hideous  debauchery  which  disgraced 
Russia  in  the  Russo-Japanese  War.  As  an  eminent 
French  correspondent  long  afterwards  wrote:  "It  is 
to  the  dethroned  Emperor  Nicholas  that  we  must  ac- 
cord the  honor  of  having  effected  the  greatest  of 
all  internal  reforms  in  war-time  Russia,  the  suppression 
of  alcoholism." 

In  October  the  Emperor  came  to  Tsarskoe  Selo  for 
a  brief  visit,  and  on  his  return  he  took  with  him  to  the 
Stavka  the  young  Tsarevitch.  This  is  the  first  time  he 
had  ever  separated  the  boy  from  his  mother,  and  the 
Empress  was  never  happy  except  in  the  few  minutes 
each  day  when  she  was  reading  the  child's  daily  letter. 
At  nine  o'clock  at  night  she  went  up  to  his  bedroom 
exactly  as  though  he  were  there  and  she  was  listening 


to  his  evening  prayers.  By  day  the  Empress  continued 
her  tireless  work  in  the  hospitals  from  which,  by  rea- 
son of  my  accident,  I  had  long  been  excluded.  How- 
ever, at  this  time,  I  received  from  the  railroad  as  com- 
pensation for  my  injuries  the  considerable  sum  of 
eighty  thousand  rubles,  and  with  the  money  I  estab- 
lished a  hospital  for  convalescent  soldiers  in  which 
maimed  and  wounded  men  received  training  in  various 
useful  trades.  This,  it  is  needless  to  say,  became  a 
great  source  of  happiness  to  me,  since  I  knew  as  well 
as  the  soldiers  what  it  meant  to  be  crippled  and  help- 
less. From  the  first  my  hospital  training  school  was  a 
most  gratifying  success,  and  my  personal  interest  in 
it  never  ceased  until  the  Revolution,  after  which  all 
my  efforts  at  usefulness  and  service  ended  in  imprison- 
ment and  persecution. 

Not  this  action  of  mine,  patriotic  though  it  must 
have  appeared,  no  amount  of  devotion  of  the  Empress 
to  the  wounded,  sufficed  to  check  the  rapidly  growing 
propaganda  which  sought  to  convict  the  Imperial 
Family  and  all  its  friends  of  being  German  spies.  The 
fact  that  in  England  the  Empress's  brother-in-law, 
Prince  Louis  of  Battenberg,  German-born  but  a  loyal 
Briton,  was  forced  to  resign  his  command  in  the  British 
Navy  was  used  with  effect  against  the  Empress  Alex- 
andra Feodorovna.  She  knew  and  resented  keenly 
this  insane  delusion,  and  she  did  everything  in  her 
power  to  overcome  it.  I  remember  a  day  when  the 
Empress  received  a  letter  from  her  brother  Ernest, 
Grand  Duke  of  Hesse,  in  which  he  implored  her  to  do 
something  to  improve  the  barbarous  conditions  of  Ger- 
man prisoners  in  Russia.     With  streaming  tears  the 


Empress  owned  herself  powerless  to  do  anything  at 
all  in  behalf  of  the  unhappy  captives.  She  had  organ- 
ized a  committee  for  the  relief  of  Russian  prisoners 
in  Germany,  but  this  had  been  fiercely  attacked,  es- 
pecially in  the  columns  of  Novy  Vreviya,  an  influential 
organ  of  the  Constitutional  Democratic  Party.  In  this 
newspaper  and  in  general  society  the  Empress's  com- 
mittee was  accused  of  being  a  mere  camouflage  gotten 
up  to  shield  her  real  purpose  of  helping  the  Germans. 
Against  such  attacks  the  Empress  had  no  defense. 
Her  secretary,  Count  Rostovseff,  indeed  tried  to  re- 
fute the  story  concerning  the  Empress's  prison-camp 
committee,  but  the  editors  of  Novy  Fremya  insolently 
refused  to  publish  his  letter  of  explanation. 

The  German-spy  mania  was  extended  from  the 
palace  to  almost  every  Russian  who  had  the  misfor- 
tune to  possess  a  name  that  sounded  at  all  German. 
Count  Fredericks  and  Minister  Sturmer  were  among 
those  who  suffered  calumny,  although  neither  spoke  a 
single  German  sentence.  But  the  greatest  sufferers 
were  those  barons  of  the  Baltic  Provinces  whose  an- 
cestors had  bequeathed  them  names  of  quite  certain 
German  origin.  Many  of  these  men  were  arrested  and 
sent  to  die,  or  to  suffer  worse  than  death  in  exile.  The 
sons  and  relatives  of  many  of  these  very  Baltic  pro- 
prietors were  at  the  time  fighting  loyally  in  the  Russian 
Army.  That  there  were  German  spies  at  work  In 
Russia  all  during  the  War  I  have  no  reason  to  doubt, 
but  they  were  the  men  who  after  19 17  invited  in  and 
exalted  Lenine  and  Trotzky,  and  not  the  Empress  and 
her  friends,  nor  yet  the  persecuted  estate  owners  of  the 
Baltic  Provinces.     Did  the  Emperor's  family  call  upon 


the  Germans  to  rescue  them  from  Siberia?  Did  any 
of  the  Baltic  Provinces  at  Versailles  ask  to  be  united 
to  Germany? 

The  army  and  navy  still  remained  loyal  to  the 
Sovereigns.  On  one  of  his  home  visits  to  Tsarskoe 
Selo  the  Emperor  brought  with  him  as  a  proof  of  this 
the  Cross  of  the  Order  of  St.  George,  the  highest  of 
all  Russian  military  decorations,  which  none  could  be- 
stow except  the  Emperor,  or  the  chief  command  of 
one  of  the  armies  in  the  field.  In  this  case  it  was  the 
gallant  Southern  Army  which  had  voted  to  bestow  it 
on  the  Emperor,  and  his  pride  and  joy  in  it  were 
humbly  great. 


TO  one  who  has  always  held  the  honor  and  faith 
of  the  Russian  people  very  dear,  who  has  never 
doubted  that  after  the  last  hideous  phase  of  revolution 
and  anarchism  has  passed,  the  Russian  nation  will 
emerge  stronger  and  better  than  ever  before,  the  writ- 
ing of  these  next  chapters  is  a  duty  Inexpressibly  pain- 
ful. I  must  tell  the  truth,  otherwise  it  would  have 
been  better  for  me  never  to  have  written  at  all.  Yet 
to  picture  In  anything  like  Its  true  colors  the  decadence 
of  Petrograd  society  from  19 14  onward  is  a  task  from 
which  any  loyal  Russian  must  shrink.  Without  a 
knowledge  of  these  conditions,  however,  students  of 
the  Russian  Revolution  will  never  be  able  to  under- 
stand why  the  fabric  of  government  slipped  so  easily 
from  the  feeble  hands  of  the  Provisional  Government 
to  the  ruthless  and  bloody  grasp  of  the  Bolshevists. 

During  the  entire  winter  of  19 15,  when  the  War 
was  being  waged  on  all  fronts  with  such  disaster  to 
the  Allies,  when  millions  of  men,  Russians,  Frenchmen, 
Belgians,  Englishmen,  were  giving  up  their  lives  in 
the  cause  of  freedom,  the  aristocracy  of  the  Russian 
capital  was  indulging  In  a  reckless  orgy  of  dancing, 
sports,  dining,  yes,  and  wining  also  in  spite  of  the 
Emperor's  edict  against  alcohol,  spending  enormous 
sums  for  gowns  and  jewels,  and  in  every  way  ignoring 
the  terrible  fact  that  the  world  was  on  fire  and  that 



civilization  was  battling  for  its  very  life.  In  the 
palace  the  most  frugal  regime  had  been  adopted. 
Meals  were  simple  almost  to  parsimony,  no  money  was 
spent  except  for  absolute  necessities,  and  the  Empress 
and  her  daughters  spent  practically  every  waking  hour 
working  and  praying  for  the  soldiers.  But  society, 
when  it  was  not  otherwise  amusing  itself,  was  indulg- 
ing in  a  new  and  madly  exciting  game  of  intrigue 
against  the  throne.  To  spread  slanders  about  the 
Empress,  to  inflame  the  simple  minds  of  workm.en 
against  the  state  was  the  most  popular  diversion  of 
the  aristocracy.  A  typical  instance  of  this  mania  was 
related  to  me  by  my  sister,  who  one  morning  was  sur- 
prised by  an  unexpected  visit  from  her  sister-in-law, 
daughter  of  a  very  great  lady  of  the  aristocracy. 
Bursting  into  the  room,  this  woman  exclaimed  delight- 
edly: "What  do  you  think  we  are  doing  now? 
Spreading  stories  through  all  the  factories  that  the 
Empress  is  keeping  the  Emperor  constantly  drunk. 
Everybody  believes  it."  I  mention  this  story  as  typical 
because  the  woman  involved  afterwards  became  very 
prominent  in  the  Grand  Ducal  cabal  that  forced  the 
abdication,  and  she  was  also  one  of  two  women  pres- 
ent in  the  Yusupoff  Palace  on  the  night  of  Rasputine's 

Every  possible  circumstance,  no  matter  how  incon- 
sequential, was  eagerly  seized  as  capital  by  these 
plotters.  A  former  lady  in  waiting,  Marie  Vassil- 
chikoff,  long  retired  from  Court  and  living  on  her' 
Austrian  estates,  came  to  Petrograd,  I  know  not  how, 
and  asked  for  an  audience  with  the  Empress.  Since 
Russia  was  at  war  with  Austria  this  audience  could 


not  be  granted,  nor  did  the  Empress  even  remotely  de- 
sire it.  Yet  as  the  story  was  circulated  Marie  Vas- 
sIlchikofF  was  represented  as  having  been  sent  for  by 
the  Empress  to  negotiate  a  separate  peace  with 
Austria,  and  that  this  treachery  was  frustrated  only 
by  the  vigorous  intervention  of  the  Grand  Duchess 

These  stories  were  spread  not  only  by  Court  and 
society  people,  but  were  made  into  a  regular  propa- 
ganda in  the  army,  especially  among  the  higher  com- 
mand. The  propaganda  was  chiefly  in  the  hands  of 
members  of  the  Union  of  Zemstvos,  its  most  success- 
ful agent  being  the  infamous  Goutchkoff,  who  now,  it  is 
gratifying  to  know,  has  earned  the  contempt  of  every 
Russian  political  group,  even  including  the  Bolshevists. 
Thus  in  a  whirl  of  heartless  gaiety  and  an  organized 
campaign  against  the  Sovereigns  and  against  the  Em- 
pire passed  the  winter  of  19 15,  the  dark  prelude  of 
darker  years  to  come. 

In  the  spring  of  that  year,  my  health  being  still  very 
precarious,  their  Majesties  sent  me  in  charge  of  a 
sanitary  train  filled  with  invalid  soldiers  and  officers 
to  the  soft  climate  of  the  Crimea,  With  me  went  a 
sister  of  mercy  and  the  sanitary-corps  man  Jouk,  of 
whom  I  have  spoken.  On  the  same  train  journeyed 
also  three  members  of  the  secret  police,  ostensibly  to 
protect,  but  really,  as  I  well  understood,  to  spy  upon 
me.  Their  presence  the  Empress,  who  came  in  the 
pouring  rain  to  see  the  train  off  from  the  station,  was 
powerless  to  forbid,  as  she  herself  was  constantly  under 
the  surveillance  of  the  dread  Okhrana.  Our  train 
traveled  slowly,  taking  five  days  from  Petrograd  to 


the  Black  Sea.  But  this  we  did  not  mind  as  we  were 
very  comfortable,  the  weather  became  beautiful,  and 
our  frequent  stops  at  Moscow  and  towns  farther 
south  were  full  of  interest.  Our  destination  was 
Evpatoria  on  the  eastern  shore  of  the  Black.  Sea,  and 
here  all  of  us  were  cordially  received,  M.  Duvan,  the 
head  man  of  the  city,  giving  me  for  a  residence  his 
own  flower-hung  villa  overlooking  the  sea.  Here  I 
spent  two  peaceful  months,  finding  the  mud  baths 
wonderfully  restoring,  and  meeting  some  unusually  in- 
teresting people.  I  am  sure  that  few  people  outside  of 
Russia  have  ever  heard  of  the  Karaim,  a  racial  group 
among  the  most  ancient  in  the  world  and  of  whom, 
even  then,  a  bare  ten  thousand  existed.  They  were 
not  Jews,  although  they  worshipped  in  synagogues, 
because  they  acknowledged  Christ  as  God,  or  at  least 
a  special  prophet  of  God.  They  were,  and  are,  if  they 
still  exist,  a  strange  mixture  of  pious  Jews  and  early 
Christians,  left-overs  from  the  days  of  the  decaying 
Roman  Empire  when  Judaism  and  Christianity  were 
trying  to  unite  in  one  faith.  The  head  of  the  Karaim 
in  Evpatoria  was  a  fine  black-bearded  patriarch  named 
Gaham,  and  with  him  I  formed  an  almost  immediate 
friendship.  Dressed  in  the  long  black  robe  of  his 
office,  he  used  to  sit  with  me  for  hours  reading  and 
reciting  the  legends  of  his  people,  many  reaching  back 
into  the  dim  twilight  of  civilization.  I  liked  the  patri- 
arch, not  only  for  his  simplicity  and  his  kindness  to  me, 
but  for  his  evident  love  and  loyalty  to  the  Imperial 
Family,  a  loyalty  shared  by  all  the  people  of  the 

A  telegram  from  the  Empress  told  me  that  she  was 


then  leaving  for  the  Stavka,  from  which  she  and  the 
Emperor  and  the  whole  Imperial  Family  would  pro- 
ceed to  the  Crimea  for  an  important  military  and 
naval  review.  Obeying  her  instructions  I  motored 
from  Evpatoria  to  Sevastopol,  through  an  enchanting 
landscape  of  hills  and  plains,  the  latter  being  literally 
carpeted  with  scarlet  poppies.  Arriving  at  Sevastopol, 
I  had  some  difficulty  in  passing  the  guard,  but  the  Em- 
press's telegram,  marked  "Imperial,"  I  had  brought 
with  me,  and  this  proved  the  open  sesame  to  the  Em- 
peror's special  train.  I  lunched  with  the  Empress  and 
the  Grand  Duchesses,  meeting  the  Emperor  and  Alexei 
when  they  came  from  the  reviews  at  six  o'clock.  I 
spent  that  night  in  town,  and  the  next  day  returned 
to  Evpatoria,  their  Majesties  promising  to  visit  me 
within  a  few  days.  On  May  16  they  arrived  and  re- 
ceived a  most  enthusiastic  welcome,  not  only  from  the 
townspeople  but  from  the  Tartars,  who  came  in  from 
the  hills  by  thousands,  from  the  people  of  the  Karaim, 
and  others  as  strange  and  as  picturesque.  The  huge 
square  before  the  cathedral  was  strewn  with  fragrant 
roses  over  which  the  Imperial  Family  walked  to  ser- 
vice. The  next  few  hours  were  spent  in  a  round  of 
visits  to  churches,  hospitals,  and  sanatoriums,  and  it 
was  to  a  late  luncheon  at  my  villa  that  they  finally 
arrived.  After  luncheon  we  walked  and  sat  on  the 
beach,  but  the  gathering  crowd  became  so  large  and 
so  curious  that  the  poor  Emperor,  who  had  looked  for- 
ward to  a  sea  bath  and  a  swim,  had  to  relinquish  both. 
Alexei  enjoyed  the  day,  boy  fashion,  without  regard 
to  the  crowds,  playing  on  the  beach  and  building  a  big 
sand  fortress,  which  the  schoolboys  of  the  town  next 


day  surrounded  by  a  high  wall  of  stones  to  protect  It 
from  the  ravages  of  the  tide.  We  had  tea  in  the  gar- 
den, the  Empress  greatly  enjoying  the  Oriental  sweets 
sent  her  by  the  Tartars.  In  the  evening  I  dined  on  the 
Imperial  train  and  traveled  with  it  a  short  distance  on 
its  way  back  to  Petro.grad. 

In  June  I  returned  to  Tsarskoe  and  resumed  work 
in  my  beloved  hospital  training  school.  The  weather 
was  unusually  hot  but  the  Empress  continued  her  con- 
stant duties  in  the  hospitals  and  operating  rooms. 
Often  I  accompanied  her  on  her  rounds,  and  it  came  to 
me  as  a  painful  shock  that  the  surgeons  and  some  of 
the  wounded  officers  no  longer  regarded  her,  as  before, 
with  respect  and  veneration.  Too  often  an  officer 
would  assume  in  her  presence  a  careless  and  indifferent 
manner  which  even  a  professional  nurse  would  have 
resented.  The  Empress  never  did.  She  must  have 
noticed  evidences  of  disrespect  but  no  word  of  com- 
plaint ever  passed  her  lips.  When  I  ventured  to  sug- 
gest to  her  that  it  might  be  well  to  go  less  frequently 
to  her  hospital,  she  rewarded  me  with  a  look  of  re- 
proach. Whatever  other  people  did,  whatever  their 
attitude  towards  the  War,  Royalty  knew  its  duty  and 
would  perform  it  faithfully  to  the  end. 

Both  the  Emperor  and  the  Empress  during  all  this 
rising  tide  of  disaffection  persisted  in  underestimating 
its  importance.  The  Emperor  especially  treated  the 
whole  movement  with  the  contempt  which  no  doubt 
it  merited  but  which  as  a  national  menace  it  was 
far  too  dangerous  to  ignore.  I  realized  it  keenly,  but 
knowing  how  impossible  it  was  to  make  their  Majesties 
understand  that  everything  that  was  said  against  me. 


against  Rasputine,  against  the  Ministers,  was  actually 
directed  against  themselves,  I  was  obliged  to  keep  my 
lips  closed.  My  parents  realized  as  well  as  I  did  what 
was  going  on.  They  had  good  reason,  in  fact,  for 
my  mother  had  received  two  most  insulting  letters,  one 
from  Princess  Galatzine,  sister  of  Mme.  Rodzianko, 
whose  husband  was  President  of  the  Duma,  and  an- 
other from  Mme.  Timasheff,  a  woman  of  the  highest 
aristocracy,  letters  which  indicated  a  certain  collusion 
between  the  writers.  In  them  my  mother  was  brutally 
informed  that  neither  of  the  women  desired  any 
further  acquaintanceship  or  association  with  her  as 
she  too  undoubtedly  belonged  to  the  German-spy 
party.  My  parents  at  the  time  were  living  quietly  In 
the  little  seaside  town  of  Terioke,  near  Petrograd,  and 
were  studiously  avoiding  the  vulgar  orgies  and  in- 
trigues of  society. 

In  the  midst  of  all  these  heart-breaking  events  I 
sought  distraction  in  the  enlargement  and  perfecting 
of  my  occupational  hospital  which  was  rapidly  becom- 
ing overcrowded  with  invalids.  I  bought  an  additional 
piece  of  land  and  arranged  for  four  portable  houses 
to  be  brought  from  Finland.  Two  of  these  arrived 
duly,  and  I  spent  hours  of  absorbing  interest  watch- 
ing them  being  put  together  on  the  newly  acquired 
land.  All  these  days  I  was  constantly  being  bothered 
by  people  who,  perhaps  believing  that  the  money  I 
was  investing  in  hospitals  was  another  proof  of  my 
power  over  the  Imperial  treasury,  tormented  me  with 
petitions  of  every  kind  and  description,  but  all  of  them 
alike  in  the  selfishness  of  their  character.  With  cold 
hatred  in  their  eyes,  but  with  hypocritical  words  on 


their  lips,  these  people  besought  my  good  offices  with 
their  Majesties  on  behalf  of  their  sons,  husbands,  and 
relatives,  all  of  whom  were  alleged  to  be  worthy  of 
promotions  and  of  lucrative  positions  under  the  State. 
One  woman  of  good  social  position  invaded  my  hos- 
pital one  day  and  treated  me  to  a  disgraceful  scene 
because  I  had  assured  her  that  I  was  powerless  to 
further  her  ambition  to  see  her  husband  appointed 
head  of  a  certain  Government.  Naturally  it  hap- 
pened that  some  petitioners  were  poor  and  needy,  and 
these,  to  the  best  of  my  ability,  but  without  any  po- 
litical influence  whatever,  I  did  endeavor  to  help.  I 
know  now,  after  witnessing  true  sympathy  and  kind- 
ness to  prisoners  and  persecuted,  like  myself  in  later 
days,  that  I  never  did  half  what  I  might  have  done 
in  the  time  of  my  prosperity.  If  better  days  come 
to  Russia  in  my  lifetime  God  help  me  to  devote  all 
that  remains  of  my  years  to  the  poor  and  especially  to 
prisoners.  Now  that  I  have  tasted  poverty,  now  that 
I  have  known  the  hopelessness  of  captivity,  I  know 
better  than  I  did  what  can-  be  done  for  the  lowly  and 

A  number  of  very  disquieting  events  occurred  to  us 
during  the  summer.  On  very  hot  days  it  was  the  cus- 
tom of  the  Empress  and  the  children  to  drive  through 
the  woods  and  shaded  roads  to  Pavlovsk,  a  few  versts 
from  Tsarskoe  Selo.  One  stifling  afternoon  we  started 
out  as  usual  in  two  carriages,  the  Empress  and  myself 
leading  the  way.  The  horses  were  magnificent  ani- 
mals, apparently  in  the  very  pink  of  condition,  but 
suddenly  one  of  the  horses  uttered  a  piercing  scream 
and  dropped  dead  in  his  harness.     The  other  horse 


plunged  sidewise  in  terror  and  for  a  few  minutes  it  was 
all  the  coachman  could  do  to  avoid  an  overturn.  The 
Empress,  pale,  but  as  always  courageous,  got  out  of 
the  carriage  and  helped  me,  who  was  still  on  crutches, 
to  alight.  The  carriage  of  the  children  drove  up,  and 
getting  In,  we  returned  without  further  incident  to 
the  palace.  Whatever  caused  the  sudden  death  of  that 
horse,  or  what  was  the  object  of  that  carriage  acci- 
dent— if  indeed  it  was  an  accident — we  never  knew, 
but  it  left  behind  in  my  mind,  and  I  think  also  in  the 
mind  of  the  Empress,  a  strangely  sinister  impression. 
The  Empress  nevertheless  went  steadfastly  on  with 
her  hospital  work,  arranging  in  the  convalescent  wards 
concerts  and  entertainments  for  the  pleasure  of  the 
wounded.  The  best  singers,  the  most  accomplished 
musicians,  were  secured  for  these  concerts,  and  the  men 
seemed  appreciative  of  them.  Yet  over  the  head  of  the 
Empress  Alexandra  Feodorovna  drifted  darker  and 
darker  the  shadow  of  impending  doom.  The  things 
I  dared  not  say  to  her  began  to  reach  her  from  others. 
In  August  came  from  the  Crimea  the  head  man  of 
the  Karaim,  of  whom  I  have  spoken.  From  the  first 
he  made  an  agreeable  impression  on  the  Empress  and 
the  children,  especially  upon  Alexei,  who  never  tired  of 
listening  to  his  stories.  But  Gaham  had  not  made  the 
journey  from  the  Crimea  to  relate  legends  and  tales. 
He  had  previously  been  connected  with  the  Ministry  of 
Foreign  Affairs,  serving  in  Persia  and  the  East,  and 
his  acute  mind  was  still  occupied  with  the  foreign  af- 
fairs of  the  Empire  on  which  he  kept  himself  well 

Determined,  If  possible,  to  force  the  Empress  to 




understand  the  gravity  of  the  situation,  he  told  her 
a  number  of  extraordinary  things  which  had  come  to 
his  knowledge,  among  them  an  organized  plot  against 
the  throne  which  was  being  carried  on  by  near 
relatives  of  the  Tsar  in  the  seclusion  of  an  allied  for- 
eign embassy  in  Petr.ograd.  His  story,  involving,  as 
it  did,  the  ambassador  of  a  friendly  power,  the  trusted 
representative  of  an  own  cousin  of  the  Emperor, 
seemed  to  the  Empress  too  preposterous  to  be  credited. 
Horrified,  she  ended  the  conversation,  and  a  few  days 
later  she  went,  taking  me  with  her,  to  visit  the  Em- 
peror at  the  Stavka.  What  he  had  to  comment  on  her 
report  of  an  alleged  ambassadorial  plot  against  him 
I  never  knew,  but  I  soon  became  aware  that  represen- 
tatives of  other  foreign  countries  were  undeniably 
hostile.  At  the  Stavka  were  military  commissions  of 
practically  every  allied  country,  among  them  General 
Williams  and  his  staff  from  Great  Britain,  General 
Janin  from  France,  General  Rikkel  from  Belgium,  and 
high  officers  from  Italy,  Serbia,  Rumania,  Japan,  and 
other  countries,  all  accompanied  by  subordinate  of- 
ficers. One  afternoon  when  the  gardens  were  quite 
crowded  by  these  men  and  men  of  our  own  army,  and 
while  the  Empress  was  making  her  customary  circle,  I 
chanced  to  overhear  a  conversation  among  officers  of 
the  foreign  military  missions,  in  which  the  most 
slanderous  words  against  her  Majesty  were  uttered. 
"She  has  come  again,  it  appears,"  said  one  of  these 
men,  "to  see  her  husband  and  give  him  the  latest  or- 
ders of  Rasputine."  "The  suite  hate  to  hear  her  ar- 
rival announced,"  said  another  officer.  "They  know 
it  means  changes." 


Worse  things  were  said,  but  without  waiting  to 
listen  I  managed  to  make  my  way  to  the  Empress,  and 
that  night  inviting,  as  I  was  well  aware,  her  irritation 
and  disbelief,  I  related  something  of  what  I  had  over- 
heard. I  went  further  and  reminded  her  of  what  we 
both  knew,  the  increasing  demoralization  of  the  Em- 
peror's staff.  The  Grand  Dukes  and  the  commanding 
officers  were,  as  a  matter  of  course,  invited  each  day 
to  lunch  with  the  Emperor,  but  with  insolence  and 
audacity  hitherto  unheard  of,  many  of  the  Emperor's 
near  kinsmen  declined  these  invitations.  They  gave 
the  most  trivial  and  transparent  excuses  for  their  ab- 
sence— headaches,  fatigue,  previous  engagements,  al- 
leged duties.  The  Empress  listened  to  what  I  said, 
silent  and  distraught.  She  knew,  and  I  also  knew, 
that  nothing  she  could  say  to  the  Emperor  would  make 
the  slightest  impression.  His  eyes  and  ears  were  still 
closed  to  the  gathering  tempest. 

General  Alexieff,  Chief  of  Staff,  and  undoubtedly 
a  valuable  officer,  had,  I  soon  learned,  been  drawn  into 
the  plot.  The  Emperor  suspected  him  to  be  in  cor- 
respondence with  the  traitor  Goutchkoff,  but  when 
questioned  General  Alexieff  denied  this  vehemently. 
He  was  soon,  however,  to  prove  his  treachery  to  the 
Emperor.  There  was  in  attendance  on  his  Majesty  at 
the  Stavka  an  old  officer.  General  Ivanoff,  a  St.  George 
Cross  man,  who  formerly  had  held  command  of  the 
Army  of  the  South.  This  devoted  and  loyal  old 
soldier  General  Alexieff  knew  he  must  get  rid  of,  and 
this,  had  he  been  honest,  he  might  have  done  by  plead- 
ing age  or  decreased  usefulness.  Instead,  he  merely 
summoned  General  Ivanoff  and  informed  him  that  to 


the  regret  of  the  whole  staff  he  was  removed.  The 
Chief  of  Staff  was  not  responsible  for  this,  he  declared, 
the  order  having  come  from  the  Empress  and  her  ac- 
complices, Rasputine  and  Mme.  Virubova.  What  Gen- 
eral Alexieff  said  to  the  Emperor  on  the  subject  I  do 
not  know,  but  when  next  the  two  met  the  Emperor 
turned  his  head  aside.  This  sudden  coldness  on  the 
part  of  the  Emperor,  whom  old  General  Ivanoff  loved 
dearly,  made  it  impossible  for  him  to  seek  an  audience, 
and  yet  the  general  was  valiantly  determined  not  to 
leave  the  Stavka  without  presenting  his  case  to  the 
Sovereign.  Calling  on  me  that  same  day,  he  repeated 
to  me,  while  tears  rolled  down  his  white  beard,  the 
lying  words  of  General  Alexieff  against  the  Empress. 
Feeling  it  against  reason  and  justice  that  the  Emperor 
should  remain  in  ignorance  of  this  insult  to  his  wife, 
I  promised  to  speak  to  him  about  it,  and  this  I  did, 
but  to  little  purpose.  The  Emperor's  wrath  against 
Alexieff  was  indeed  kindled  but  he  evidently  felt  that 
he  could  not,  at  that  critical  hour,  dismiss  an  officer 
whose  services  were  so  urgently  in  demand.  After- 
wards, however,  his  manner  towards  old  General 
Ivanoff  became  conspicuously  kind. 

We  remained  for  some  time  after  this  at  the  Stavka, 
days  to  me  of  such  sad  remembrance  that  I  can  scarcely 
endure  the  task  of  recording  them.  The  Empress  and 
her  suite,  the  Grand  Duchesses,  and  myself  lived  on 
board  the  Imperial  train,  motor  cars  coming  each  day 
at  one  o'clock  to  take  us  to  staff  headquarters  to 
luncheon.  Headquarters  were  in  an  ancient  villa  of 
the  Governor  of  the  Province,  a  rather  old-fashioned 


and  uncomfortable  place.  Even  the  huge  dining  room 
where  the  Emperor  and  Empress,  the  staff  and  the 
officers  of  the  foreign  missions  met  each  day  was  a  dull 
and  gloomy  room.  When  the  weather  became  very 
warm  this  dismal  apartment  was  abandoned,  and 
luncheon  was  served  in  a  large  tent  in  a  shady  part 
of  the  grounds  overlooking  the  town  and  farther  away 
still  the  flowing  tide  of  the  mighty  Dnieper.  The  only 
really  bright  circumstance  of  the  time  was  the  growing 
health  and  strength  of  the  Tsarevitch.  He  was  de- 
veloping marvelously  through  the  summer,  both  in 
bodily  vigor  and  in  gaiety  of  spirits.  With  his  tutors, 
M.  Gilliard  and  Petroff,  he  romped  and  played  as 
though  illness  were  a  thing  to  him  unknown.  With. 
several  of  the  allied  officers,  notably  with  the  Belgian 
General  Rikkel,  he  was  also  on  the  best  of  terms. 

Every  day  after  luncheon  the  maids  came  from  the 
train  with  what  gowns  and  other  apparel  we  needed 
for  the  remaining  functions  of  the  day.  There  was 
little  room  in  the  house  in  which  to  change,  but  we 
managed  to  appropriate  a  few  nooks  and  corners,  and 
to  make  ourselves  as  presentable  as  possible  in  the  cir- 
cumstances. In  the  Emperor's  scant  hours  of  leisure 
he  loved  to  walk  with  his  family  in  the  woods  along 
the  river  brink,  and  sometimes  when  I  saw  the  Empress 
sitting  on  the  grass  talking  informally  with  the  peasant 
women  who  crowded  around  her,  I  took  comfort,  be- 
lieving then,  as  I  still  believe,  that  the  great  mass  of 
the  Russian  people  were  to  the  end  faithful  to  their 
Sovereigns.  As  for  the  suite,  most  of  them  became 
increasingly  indifferent,  bound  up  In  their  foolish  per- 


sonal  affairs,  diverting  themselves  with  whispered 
gossip  and  laughter,  apparently  quite  indifferent  to  the 
calamitous  progress  of  the  War,  People  to  whom 
religion  is  still  in  these  cynical  days  a  real  refuge  will 
understand  me  when  I  tell  them  what  comfort  I  found 
in  an  ancient  convent  in  the  neighborhood,  and  in  the 
poor  little  church  which  adjoined  it.  The  one  treasure 
of  this  church  was  an  old  and  highly  revered  image  of 
Our  Lady  of  Mogiloff  and  almost  every  day  of  that 
distressful  summer  I  managed  to  spend  a  few  minutes 
on  my  knees  before  her  dark  and  mystic  image.  One 
day,  feeling  in  my  heart  the  imminence  of  a  danger  I 
dared  not  name  even  to  myself,  I  took  off  my  diamond 
earrings  and  laid  them  at  the  foot  of  the  shrine  where 
I  had  sought  and  received  peace  of  mind.  I  hope  my 
poor  offering  was  received  with  grace  by  the  saint, 
who  of  course  did  not  need  it,  but  whose  helpless  ones 
always  do.  A  little  later  the  monks  presented  me 
with  a  small  replica  of  the  image,  and  strangely 
enough  this  was  the  one  ikon  I  was  permitted  to  take 
with  me  when  I  was  sent  to  the  Fortress  of  Peter  and 

Of  that  unhappy  summer  of  191 6  I  have  only  one  or 
two  more  incidents  to  relate.  One  of  these  was  a 
visit  to  the  Stavka  of  the  Princess  Paley,  wife  of  Grand 
Duke  Paul.  Coming  from  Kiev,  where  the  Empress 
Dowager  and  the  Grand  Duke  Nicholai  Michailovitch 
were  in  residence,  it  appeared  ominous  to  me  that  they 
too,  all  of  them,  seemed  to  be  inoculated  with  the  de- 
lusion of  the  German  spy  and  the  Rasputine  influence. 
Neither  the  Princess  nor  the  Grand  Duke  were  in  the 
least  tactful  in  the  expression  of  their  opinions  on  the 


subject.  Another  visitor  to  the  Stavka  was  Rodzianko, 
who  came  to  demand  the  instant  dismissal  of 
Protopopoff,  Minister  of  the  Interior,  once  his  friend 
and  confidant,  but  now  accused  by  the  President  of  the 
Duma  of  being  a  lunatic.  The  Emperor  received 
Rodzianko  coldly,  and  did  not  even  invite  him  to 
lunch.  At  tea  that  afternoon  the  Emperor  said  that 
the  interview  had  angered  him  intensely  as  he  knew 
quite  well  that  Rodzianko's  representations  and  mo- 
tives were  wholly  insincere.  Almost  everything  at  the 
Stavka  was  growing  worse  and  worse,  the  Grand 
Dukes  being  more  insolent  than  ever  and  continually 
annoying  General  Voyeikoff  by  ordering  trains  and 
motors  for  themselves  without  any  regard  to  the  re- 
quirements of  the  Emperor.  It  was  with  feelings  of 
unspeakable  relief  that  in  November,  19 16,  we  left 
the  Stavka  for  Tsarskoe  Selo.  In  the  Imperial  train 
with  us  traveled  young  Grand  Duke  Dmitri  Pavlovitch 
who  even  then  was  probably  involved  in  a  deadly  plot 
against  their  Majesties.  Yet  this  young  man  was  able 
to  keep  up  a  pretense  of  friendship  with  the  Empress, 
sitting  beside  her  couch  and  entertaining  her  by  the 
hour  with  amusing  gossip  and  stories.  Hearing  the 
laughter  the  Emperor  often  opened  his  study  door  to 
listen  and  to  join  in  the  conversation.  It  was  a  merry 
journey  home,  yet  within  a  few  days  after  we  arrived 
troubles  again  began  to  multiply.  Entering  the  Em- 
press's door  one  day,  I  found  her  in  a  passion  of  indig- 
nation and  grief.  As  soon  as  she  could  speak  she  told 
me  that  the  Emperor  had  sent  her  a  letter  from 
Nicholai  Michailovitch,  in  which  the  Empress  was 
specifically  charged  with  the  most  mischievous  political 


machinations.    "Unless  this  is  stopped,"  the  letter  con- 
cluded, "murders  will  certainly  begin."  ^ 

Nicholai  Michailovitch,  it  appears,  had  gone  to  the 
Stavka  from  the  group  in  Kiev,  with  the  express  ob- 
ject of  delivering  this  letter.  Every  member  of  the 
staff  knew  his  errand  and  expected  him  to  be  ignomin- 
iously  ejected  from  the  Emperor's  study.  Nothing  of 
the  kind  happened,  and  the  Grand  Duke  stayed  to 
luncheon  in  the  most  friendly  manner.  I  do  not  know 
what  he  said  to  the  Emperor,  but  I  do  know  that  the 
letter  was  laid  on  the  Emperor's  desk.  Nothing  was 
said  or  done  to  avenge  this  deadly  insult  to  the  wife  of 
Nicholas  II  whom  undoubtedly  he  loved  dearer  than 
his  own  life.  The  only  explanation  I  can  think  of  was 
the  Emperor's  complete  absorption  in  the  War, 
and  in  his  unshaken  conviction  that  the  plotters'  gossip 
was  entirely  harmless.  He  had  the  kind  of  mind  which 
could  concentrate  on  only  one  thing  at  a  time,  and  at 
this  period  his  whole  heart  and  soul  was  with  the  fight- 
ing armies.  I  well  remember  scraps  of  conversation 
with  him  during  those  days  which  indicated  that  in  the 
back  of  his  mind  were  many  plans  for  future  internal 
reforms.  He  spoke  of  important  social  changes  which 
must  come  after  the  War,  social  and  constitutional  re- 
forms. "I  will  do  everything  necessary  afterwards," 
he  said  in  more  than  one  of  these  conversations.  "But 
I  cannot  act  now.  I  cannot  do  more  than  one  thing  at 
a  time." 

*  Previous  to  the  War  and  the  impending  revolution  the  Empress 
had  had  very  little  to  do  with  politics,  but  it  is  true  that  when 
affairs  became  desperate  she  did  what  she  rightly  could  to  advise 
her  husband. 


The  Empress,  I  think,  for  all  her  sensitiveness  to  the 
abominable  accusations  brought  against  her,  tried  to 
preserve  the  same  waiting  state  of  mind.  Most  dis- 
agreeable incidents  she  kept  to  herself,  yet  one  day 
she  showed  me  a  letter  written  directly  to  her  by  a 
Princess  Vassilchikoff,  a  letter  so  insulting  that  the 
Emperor  was  aroused  to  order  the  Princess  and  her 
husband,  a  member  of  the  Duma,  to  their  country 
estates.  This  letter  was  written  on  small  scraps  of 
paper  evidently  torn  from  a  cheap  writing  tablet.  "At 
least,"  said  the  Empress  with  faint  sarcasm,  "she 
might  have  used  the  stationery  of  a  lady  when  address- 
ing her  Sovereign." 

What  had  taken  possession  of  Petrograd  society? 
I  often  asked  myself.  Was  it  a  mob  delusion,  con- 
tagious, like  certain  diseases?  Was  it  a  madness  born 
of  the  War  similar  to  other  strange  hysterias  which 
arose  during  some  of  the  wars  of  the  Middle  Ages? 
That  the  delusion  was  confined  to  Petrograd  and  a  few 
other  towns  frequented  by  the  aristocracy  was  perfectly 
apparent.  In  the  last  days  of  19 16  the  Empress  with 
Olga,  Tatiana,  and  General  Racine  paid  a  brief  visit 
to  Novgorod  to  inspect  military  hospitals  and  to  pray 
in  the  monastery  and  church  of  Sofisky  Sobor,  one  of 
the  oldest  churches  in  Russia.  Her  visit  was  opposed, 
quite  senselessly,  by  Petrograd  society,  which  ac- 
cused her  of  going  for  some  bad  purpose,  God  knows 
what.  But  at  Novgorod  the  people  poured  out  in 
throngs  to  greet  her  with  peals  of  bells,  music,  and 
cheers.  Before  leaving  the  city  the  Empress  paid  a 
visit  to  a  very  old  woman  who  had  spent  forty  helpless 
years  in  bed,  still  wearing  the  heavy  chains  of  penitence 


which  as  a  pilgrim  she  had,  almost  a  lifetime  before, 
assumed.  As  her  Majesty  entered  the  old  woman's 
cell  a  feeble  voice  uttered  these  words:  "Here  comes 
the  martyred  Empress,  Alexandra  Feodorovna." 
What  could  this  aged  and  bedridden  recluse  have 
known  or  guessed  of  events  which  were  to  come? 


IN  preceding  chapters  I  have  mentioned  the  name  of 
Rasputine,  that  strange  and  ill-starred  being  about 
whom  almost  nothing  is  known  to  the  multitude  but 
against  whom  such  horrible  accusations  have  been  made 
that  he  is  universally  classed  with  such  monsters  of  in- 
iquity as  Cain,  Nero,  and  Judas  Iscariot.  Even  H.  G. 
Wells,  in  whose  "Outline  of  History"  Joan  of  Arc  and 
Abraham  Lincoln  are  disposed  of  in  a  line,  sacrifices 
valuable  space,  to  state  as  an  established  fact  that  in 
19 1 7  the  Russian  Court  was  "dominated  by  a  religious 
impostor,  Rasputin,  whose  cult  was  one  of  unspeakable 
foulness,  a  reeking  scandal  in  the  face  of  the  world." 
I  have  no  desire  in  this  book  to  attempt  an  exoneration 
of  Rasputine,  for  I  am  not  so  ambitious  as  to  believe 
that  I  can  change  the  collective  mind  of  the  world  on 
any  point.  In  the  interests  of  historical  truth,  however, 
I  believe  it  to  be  my  simple  duty  to  record  the  plain 
tale  of  how  and  why  Rasputine  came  to  be  a  factor  in 
the  lives  of  Nicholas  II  and  of  Alexandra  Feodorovna, 
his  wife,  and  exactly  to  what  extent  he  did,  or  rather, 
did  not,  dominate  the  Russian  Court.  Those  who  ex- 
pect from  me  secret  and  sensatianal  disclosures  will,  I 
fear,  be  disappointed,  for  Rasputine's  every  movement 
for  years  was  known  to  the  Russian  police,  and  the 

mjost  sensa;tional  fact  of  his  whole  career,  his  assassina- 



tion,  has  been  described  by  practically  every  writer  of 
the  events  of  the  Russian  Revolution. 

I  will  first  explain  the  exact  status  of  the  man,  for 
this  does  not  appear  to  be  generally  understood.  He 
has  been  called  a  priest,  more  often  still  a  monk,  but 
the  truth  is  he  was  not  in  holy  orders  at  all.  He  be- 
longed to  a  curious  species  of  roving  religious  peasant 
which  in  Russia  were  called  Stranniki,  the  nearest  Eng- 
lish translation  of  the  word  being  pilgrims.  These 
wandering  peasants,  common  sights  in  the  old  Russia, 
were  accustomed  to  travel  from  one  end  of  the  Empire 
to  the  other,  often  walking  with  heav}''  chains  on  their 
bodies  to  make  their  progress  more  painful  and  diffi- 
cult. They  went  from  church  to  church,  shrine  to 
shrine,  monastery  to  monastery,  praying,  fasting,  mor- 
tifying the  flesh,  and  their  prayers  were,  by  a  very  con- 
siderable population,  eagerly  sought  and  devoutly 
believed  in.  Once  in  a  while  a  Strannik  appeared  who, 
by  virtue  of  his  extreme  piety,  gift  of  speech,  or  strong 
personality,  acquired  more  than  local  reputation. 
Churchmen  of  high  rank,  estate  owners,  and  even  mem- 
bers of  the  nobility  invited  these  men  to  their  houses, 
listened  with  interest  to  their  discourses,  and  asked  for 
their  prayers.  Such  a  Strannik  was  Gregory  Raspu- 
tine,  who  from  the  humblest  beginnings  in  a  remote 
Siberian  village  became  known  all  over  the  Empire  as 
a  man  of  almost  superhuman  endowment. 

Of  the  type  of  Russians  to  whom  the  Stranniki  made 
a  genuine  appeal  the  Emperor  and  Empress  un- 
doubtedly belonged.  The  Emperor,  like  several  of  his 
near  ancestors,  was  a  bom  mystic,  and  the  soul  of 
Alexandra  Feodorovna,  either  from  natural  inclination 


or  from  close  association  with  him  whom  she  so  dearly 
loved,  leaned  also  towards  mysticism.  By  this  I  do  not 
mean  that  the  Emperor  and  the  Empress  were  at  all 
interested  in  spiritualism,  table-tipping,  or  alleged  ma- 
terializations from  the  world  beyond.  Far  from  it. 
In  the  earliest  days  of  my  acquaintance  with  the  Em- 
press, as  far  back  as  1905,  she  gave  me  a  special  warn- 
ing against  these  things,  telling  me  that  if  I  wished  for 
her  friendship  never  to  have  anything  to  do  with  so- 
called  spiritism.  Both  the  Emperor  and  the  Empress 
were  profoundly  interested  in  the  religious  life  and 
expressions  of  the  whole  human  race.  They  read  with 
sympathy  and  understanding  the  religious  literature 
not  only  of  Christendom  but  of  India,  Persia,  and  the 
countries  of  the  Far  East.  I  remember  in  connection 
with  the  Empress's  first  warning  against  spiritism  that 
she  gave  me  a  book,  an  obscure  fourteenth-century 
missal  called  "Les  Amis  des  Dieti"  which,  in  spite  of 
her  warm  recommendation,  I  found  great  difficulty  in 
reading.  This  interest  in  religion  and  the  life  of  the 
spirit  was  actually  what  constituted  what  Mr.  Wells 
calls  the  "crazy  pietism"  of  Nicholas  II.  It  was  simple 
Christianity  lived  and  not  merely  subscribed  to  as  a 
theory.  They  believed  that  prophecy,  in  the  Biblical 
sense  of  the  word,  still  existed  in  certain  highly  gifted 
and  spiritually  minded  persons.  They  believed  that  it 
was  possible  outside  the  church  and  without  the  aid  of 
regularly  ordained  bishops  and  priests  to  hold  com- 
munion with  God  and  with  His  Spirit.  Before  I  came 
to  Court  there  was  a  Frenchman,  Dr.  Philippe,  in 
whom  they  reposed  the  greatest  confidence,  believing 
him  to  be  one  in  whom  the  gift  of  prophecy  existed.     I 


never  knew  Dr.  Philippe,  hence  I  can  speak  of  him 
only  as  a  sort  of  a  forerunner  of  Rasputine,  because,  as 
the  Empress  told  me,  his  coming  was  foretold  by  Dr. 
Philippe.  Very  shortly  before  his  death  the  French 
mystic  told  them  that  they  would  have  another  friend 
authorized  to  speak  to  them  from  God,  and  when 
Rasputine  appeared  he  was  accepted  as  that  friend. 

Rasputine,  although  very  poor  and  humble  and  al- 
most entirely  illiterate,  had  acquired  a  great  reputation 
as  a  preacher,  and  had  especially  attracted  the  attention 
of  Bishop  Theofan,  a  churchman  of  renown  in  Petro- 
grad.  Bishop  Theofan  introduced  the  Strannik  to  the 
wife  of  Grand  Duke  Nicholas,  who  immediately  con- 
ceived a  warm  admiration  for  him,  and  began  to  speak 
to  her  friends  of  his  marvelous  piety  and  spiritual 
insight.  At  that  time  the  Emperor  was  on  very 
friendly  terms  with  the  Grand  Duke  Nicholas,  or 
rather  with  his  wife  and  her  sister,  two  princesses  of 
Montenegro  who  had  married,  not  quite  in  conformity 
with  the  rules  of  the  Orthodox  Church,  the  brothers. 
Grand  Dukes  Nicholas  and  Peter.  One  of  these  sis- 
ters. Princess  Melitza,  Grand  Duchess  Peter,  had 
something  of  a  reputation  as  a  mystic,  and  it  was  at 
her  house  that  the  Emperor  and  Empress  met  first  Dr. 
Philippe  and  later  Rasputine.  In  one  of  my  first 
conversations  with  the  Empress  she  told  me  this,  and 
told  me  also  how  deeply  the  conversation  of  the  Si- 
berian peasant  had  interested  both  her  husband  and 
herself.  In  fact  Rasputine,  at  that  period,  interested 
and  Impressed  almost  everyone  with  whom  he  came  In 
contact.  When  the  house  of  Stolyplne  was  blown  up 
by  terrorist  bombs  and,   among  others,  his  beloved 


daughter  was  grievously  wounded,  it  was  Rasputine 
whom  the  famous  statesman  summoned  to  her  bedside 
for  prayer  and  supplication.  I  am  aware  that  the  pub- 
lic generally  believes  that  it  was  I  who  introduced  Ras- 
putine into  the  Russian  Court,  but  truth  compels  me 
to  declare  that  he  was  well  known  to  the  Sovereigns  and 
to  most  of  the  Court  long  before  I  ever  saw  him. 

It  was  about  a  month  before  my  marriage  in  1907 
that  the  Empress  asked  Grand  Duchess  Peter  to  make 
me  acquainted  with  Rasputine.  I  had  heard  that  the 
Grand  Duchess  was  very,  clever  and  well  read,  and  I 
was  glad  of  the  opportunity  of  meeting  her  in  her 
palace  on  the  English  Quay  in  Petrograd.  Interesting 
as  I  found  her,  I  was  nevertheless  thrilled  with  excite- 
ment when  a  servant  announced  the  arrival  of  Raspu- 
tine, Before  his  entrance  the  Grand  Duchess  said  to 
me:  "Do  not  be  astonished  if  I  greet  him  peasant 
fashion,"  that  is,  with  three  kisses  on  the  cheek.  She 
did  so  greet  him  and  then  she  presented  us  to  each 
other.  I  saw  an  elderly  peasant,  thin,  with  a  pale  face, 
long  hair,  an  uncared-for  beard,  and  the  most  extraor- 
dinary eyes,  large,  light,  brilliant,  and  apparently  ca- 
pable of  seeing  into  the  very  mind  and  soul  of  the 
person  with  whom  he  held  converse.  He  wore  a  long 
peasant  coat,  black  and  rather  shabby  from  hard  wear 
and  much  travel.  We  talked  and  the  Grand  Duchess, 
speaking  in  French,  bade  me  ask  him  to  pray  for  some 
special  desire  of  mine.  Timidly  I  begged  him  to  pray 
that  God  would  permit  me  to  spend  my  whole  life  serv- 
ing their  Majesties.  To  this  he  replied:  "Your  whole 
life  will  be  thus  spent."  We  parted  then,  but  shortly 
afterwards,  just  before  my  wedding  day,  when  my  heart 


was  in  a  tumult  of  doubt  and  anxiety,  I  wrote  to  the 
Grand  Duchess  Peter  and  asked  her  to  seek  Rasputine's 
counsel  in  my  behalf.  His  word  to  me  was  that  I  would 
marry  as  I  had  planned  but  that  I  should  not  find 
happiness  in  my  marriage.  It  will  be  seen  how  little  I 
regarded  him  as  a  prophet  at  this  time  since  I  paid  no 
attention  to  his  warning.  A  full  year  after  my  mar- 
riage I  saw  Rasputine  for  the  second  time.  It  was  on 
a  train  going  from  Petrograd  to  Tsarskoe  Selo,  he 
being  on  his  way  there  to  visit  friends  who  were  in  no 
way  connected  with  the  Court. 

But,  asks  the  bewildered  reader,  when  and  how  did 
Rasputine  acquire  the  dreadful,  almost  unprintable 
reputation  which  classes  him  with  the  arch-fiend  him- 
self? To  answer  the  question  satisfactorily  I  should 
have  to  reveal  at  great  length  the  strangely  abnormal 
and  hysterical  mentality  of  the  Russian  people  of  that 
epoch.  I  shall  try  to  do  this  as  I  go  farther,  but  here  I 
shall  give,  as  a  sort  of  illustration  of  the  lunacy  of 
the  hour,  a  little  experience  of  my  own.  It  was  on  the 
first  occasion  after  my  arrest  by  Kerensky  in  the  spring 
of  19 17,  when  I  was  brought  before  the  High  Com- 
mission of  Justice  of  the  Provisional  Government. 
Weak  and  ill  from  my  long  imprisonment  in  the 
gloomy  Fortress  of  Peter  and  Paul,  I  found  myself 
facing  an  imposing  group  of  something  like  forty 
judges,  all  learned  in  the  law  and  clothed  in  such  dig- 
nity of  office  that  I  gazed  at  them  in  a  kind  of  awe. 
In  my  distracted  mind  I  asked  myself  what  questions 
these  grave  magistrates  would  ask  me,  and  in  what 
profound  language  would  their  questions  be  clothed. 
My  heart  almost  stopped  beating  while  I  waited  for 


the  words  of  the  chief  judge.  And  this  is  what  was 
said,  in  a  deep  and  solemn  voice:  "Tell  me,  who  was 
it  at  Court  that  Rasputine  called  a  flower?"  Sheer 
amazement  held  me  speechless,  but  even  had  I  been 
given  time  I  could  not  have  answered  the  question  be- 
cause there  was  no  such  person.  The  judges  whis- 
pered together  for  a  moment  and  then  the  same  man, 
handing  me  a  piece  of  cardboard,  demanded  impres- 
sively:  "What  is  the  meaning  of  this  secret  card 
which  was  found  in  your  house  by  the  soldiers?" 

I  took  the  piece  of  cardboard  and  almost  instantly 
recognized  it  as  a  menu  card  of  the  yacht  Standert, 
dated  1908.  On  the  reverse  side  were  written  the 
names  of  war  vessels  present  at  that  date  at  a  naval 
review  held  near  Kronstadt,  Russian  vessels  all,  among 
which  the  position  of  the  Imperial  yacht  was  marked 
by  a  crown.  I  handed  the  menu  card  back  to  the  judge 
saying  merely:  "Look  at  it,  and  look  at  the  date." 
He  looked  at  it  and  in  some  confusion  muttered:  "It 
is  true."  One  more  question  those  giant  intellects 
found  to  ask  me.  "Is  it  a  fact  that  the  Empress  could 
not  live  without  you?"  To  which  I  replied  as  any  sen- 
sible person  would  have  done  :  "Why  should  a  happy 
wife  and  mother  be  unable  to  live  without  a  mere 
friend?"  The  inquiry  was  then  hastily  closed  and  I 
was  ordered  back  to  prison,  to  be  watched  more  closely 
than  ever,  because  I  would  not  answer  to  judgment. 

This  is  a  perfectly  fair  sample  of  the  madness  and 
confusion  of  the  Russian  mind,  or  rather  the  Petrograd 
mind,  before  and  after  the  Revolution.  That  this 
madness,  this  unreasoning  mania  for  the  destruction 
of  all  institutions  might  have  something  to  justify  itself 


in  the  public  mind,  it  was  absolutely  necessary  to  find 
and  to  persecute  individuals  who  typified,  in  popular 
imagination,  the  things  which  were  so  bitterly  hated. 
Rasputine,  more  than  any  one  other  individual  in  the 
Empire,  did  typify  old  and  unpopular  institutions,  and  I 
can  readily  see  why  some  intelligent  and  fair-minded 
persons  thus  accepted  him.  Dillon,  for  example,  in  his 
book,  "The  Eclipse  of  Russia,"  says:  "It  is  my  belief 
that  although  his  friends  were  influential  Rasputine 
was  a  symbol." 

Russia,  like  eighteenth-century  France,  passed 
through  a  period  of  acute  insanity  from  which  it  is  only 
now  beginning  to  emerge  in  remorse  and  pain.  This 
insanity  was  by  no  means  confined  to  the  ranks  of  the 
so-called  Revolutionists.  It  pervaded  the  Duma,  the 
highest  ranks  of  society.  Royalty  itself,  all  as  guilty  of 
Russia's  ruin  as  the  most  blood-thirsty  terrorist.  What 
had  happened  in  these  dark  years  between  1917  and 
1923  is  simply  the  punishment  of  God  for  the  sins  of  a 
whole  people.  When  His  avenging  hand  has  so 
plainly  been  laid  upon  all  of  the  Russian  people  how 
dare  any  of  us  lay  the  calamity  entirely  at  the  doors  of 
the  Bolsheviki?  We  Russians  look  on  the  appalling 
condition  of  our  once  great  country,  we  behold  the 
famishing  millions  on  the  Volga  and  in  the  Ukraine,  we 
count  the  fearful  roll  of  the  murdered,  the  imprisoned, 
the  exiled,  and  we  cry  weakly  that  the  Tsar  was  guilty, 
Rasputine  was  guilty,  this  man  and  that  woman  were 
guilty,  but  never  do  we  admit  that  we  were  all  guilty, 
guilty  of  blackest  treason  to  our  God,  our  Emperor, 
our  country.  Yet  not  until  we  cease-  to  accuse  others 
and  repent  our  own  sins  will  the  white  dawn  of  God's 


merqr  rise  over  the  starved  and  barren  desert  that  was 
once  mighty  Russia. 

Rasputine,  it  seems  to  be  generally  assumed,  having 
been  introduced  to  the  Imperial  Family,  took  up  his 
residence  in  the  palace  of  the  Romanoffs  and  there- 
after held  in  his  hands  the  reins  of  government. 
Those  who  do  not  literally  believe  this  are  neverthe- 
less persuaded  that  Rasputine  lived  very  near  their 
Majesties,  saw  them  constantly,  was  consulted  and 
obeyed  by  the  Ministers,  and  with  the  aid  and  conniv- 
ance of  adoring  women  attached  to  the  Court,  ruled  by 
fear  and  superstition  the  whole  governing  class  of  the 
Empire.  If  I  denied  that  Rasputine  ever  lived  at 
Court,  ever  had  the  smallest  influence  over  govern- 
mental policies,  ever  ruled  through  adoring  and  super- 
stitious women,  I  should  not  hope  to  be  believed.  I 
will  then  simply  call  attention  to  the  fact  that  every 
move  of  Rasputine  from  the  hour  when  he  began  to 
frequent  the  palaces  of  the  Grand  Dukes,  especially 
from  the  day  he  met  the  Emperor  and  Empress  in  the 
drawing  room  of  the  Grand  Duchess  Melitza,  to  the 
midnight  when  he  met  his  death  in  the  Yusupoff  Palace 
on  the  Moika  Canal  in  Petrograd,  is  a  matter  of  the 
most  minute  police  record.  The  police  know  how 
many  days  of  each  year  Rasputine  spent  in  Petrograd 
and  how  much  of  his  time  was  lived  in  Siberia.  They 
know  exactly  how  many  times  he  called  at  the  palace  at 
Tsarskoe  Selo,  how  long  he  stayed  and  who  was  pres- 
ent. They  know  when  and  under  exactly  the  circum- 
stances Rasputine  came  to  my  house,  and  who  else  came 
to  the  house  at  the  same  time.  The  police  know  more 
about  Rasputine  than  all  the  journalists  and  the  his- 


torians  put  together,  and  their  records  show  that  he 
spent  most  of  his  time  in  Siberia,  and  that  when  he 
visited  Petrograd  he  lived  in  rather  humble  lodgings  in 
an  unfashionable  street,  54  Gorochovaia.  Rasputine 
never  lived  in  the  palace,  seldom  visited  it,  saw  the 
Emperor  less  frequently  than  the  Empress,  and  had 
among  the  women  of  the  Court  more  enemies  than, 

The  English-speaking  reader  may  doubt  the  com- 
pleteness and  the  accuracy  of  police  records,  knowing 
that  in  his  own  country  only  criminals  and  people  of  the 
underworld  are  really  watched  by  the  police.  To 
know  what  police  surveillance  can  mean  it  is  necessary 
to  have  known  Russia  before  1917.  I  do  not  speak 
of  the  Bolshevik  police.  It  is  fairly  well  known  what 
they  are,  but  after  all  their  methods,  if  not  their 
motives,  are  founded  on  the  Okhrana  of  the  old  days. 

To  give  an  idea  of  the  ever-open  and  searching  eye 
of  the  old  Russian  police  I  will  describe  what  the  situ- 
ation was  in  the  Imperial  palace  itself.  In  connection 
with  the  palace,  or  any  of  the  Imperial  residences,  the 
persons  of  the  Emperor  and  his  family,  the  police  force 
was  organized  in  three  sections.  There  were  the  pal- 
ace police,  a  Cossack  convoi,  and  a  regiment  of  Guards 
known  as  the  Svodny  Polk.  Besides  the  ranking  offi- 
cers of  these  organizations  there  was,  over  them  all,  a 
palace  commandant,  in  the  latest  days  of  the  Empire, 
General  Voyeikoff.  It  was  impossible  for  anyone  to 
approach  the  palace,  much  less  to  be  received  by  one 
of  their  Majesties,  without  the  fact  being  known  to 
scores  of  these  police  guards.  Every  soldier,  every 
guard,  in  uniform  or  out,  kept  a  notebook  in  which  he 


was  obliged  to  write  down  for  inspection  by  his  su- 
periors the  movements  of  all  persons  who  entered  the 
palace  and  even  those  who  passed  its  walls.  More- 
over, they  were  obliged  to  communicate  by  telephone 
with  their  superior  officers  every  event,  however  trivial, 
of  which  they  were  witness.  This  vigilance  was  ex- 
tended even  to  the  persons  of  the  Emperor  and  his 
family.  If  the  Empress  ordered  her  carriage  for  two 
o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  the  lackey  receiving  the  order 
immediately  informed  the  nearest  police  guard  of  the 
fact.  The  guard  telephoned  the  news  to  the  palace 
commandant's  office  and  from  there  the  information 
went  by  telephone  to  the  offices  of  the  separate  police 
organizations:  "Her  Majesty's  carriage  has  been  or- 
dered for  two  o'clock."  This  meant  that  from  the 
time  the  Empress  and  her  companion,  or  her  children, 
drove  from  the  palace  doors  to  the  hour  when  they 
returned  the  roads  were  lined  with  police,  ready  with 
their  notebooks  to  record  every  single  incident  of  the 
drive.  Should  the  Empress  stop  her  carriage  to  speak 
to  an  acquaintance,  that  unhappy  individual  would 
afterwards  be  approached  by  a  guard  standing  in  the 
road  or  behind  trees  or  shrubbery,  who  would  demand: 
"What  is  your  name,  and  for  what  reason  had  you 
conversation  with  her  Majesty?"  With  all  her  heart 
the  Empress  detested  this  system  of  police  espionage, 
but  it  was  one  of  the  Russian  ironclad  traditions  which 
neither  she  nor  the  Emperor  could  alter  or  abolish. 

If  the  Imperial  Family  was  thus  subject  to  police 
surveillance  the  reader  can  easily  imagine  how  closely 
the  ordinary  citizen  and  especially  citizens  of  eminence 
were  watched.     I  would  not  venture  to  declare  on  my 


own  unsupported  authority  that  Rasputine  rarely 
visited  the  palace,  at  first  two  or  three  times  a  year, 
and  but  little  oftener  at  the  last,  but  I  can  state  that 
these  facts  are  on  record  in  the  police  annals  of  Petro- 
grad  and  Tsarskoe  Selo.  In  the  year  of  his  death, 
1916,  Rasputine  saw  the  Emperor  exactly  twice. 
There  is  one  unfortunate  fact  in  connection  with  these 
visits.  I  write  it  regretfully  but  it  is  true,  and  I  can  see 
how  that  circumstance  served  with  some  people  to  put 
a  false  emphasis  on  the  visits  of  Rasputine  to  the  Im- 
perial household.  In  spite  of  the  well-known  fact  that 
every  visit  of  Rasputine  was  necessarily  a  public  ap- 
pearance, in  full  limelight,  as  it  were,  the  Emperor  and 
Empress  attempted  to  throw  over  his  visits  a  certain 
veil  of  secrecy.  They  had  done  the  same  thing  with 
Dr.  Philippe,  and  I  suppose  from  the  same  motives. 
Every  human  being  craves  a  little  personal  privacy. 
In  the  most  loving  family  circle  who  does  not  at  times 
want  to  be  alone  with  his  thoughts  or  his  prayers  be- 
hind closed  doors?  Thus  it  was  with  their  Majesties. 
Rasputine  represented  to  them  hopes  and  aspirations 
far  removed  from  earthly  power  and  glory,  and  from 
earthly  pain  and  suffering.  They  knew  that  he  was  a 
simple  peasant  and  that  many  people  of  rank  in  official 
circles  thought  it  strange,  some  even  thought  it  undigni- 
fied, for  their  Majesties  of  great  Russia  to  listen  to  the 
counsels  of  so  lowly  and  ignorant  a  man.  For  this  rea- 
son, I  know  of  no  other,  the  Emperor  and  Empress 
vainly  tried  to  make  the  visits  of  Rasputine  as  Incon- 
spicuous as  possible.  He  was  admitted  into  a  side 
entrance  instead  of  the  main  doorway;  he  went  upstairs 
by  a  small  staircase;  he  was  received  in  the  private 


apartments  and  never  in  the  public  drawing  rooms.  It 
was  the  same  in  Tsarskoe  Selo  and  in  the  Crimea,  In 
which  latter  place  a  day's  visit  served  for  a  year's 
gossip  throughout  the  entire  estate.  More  than  once  I 
pointed  out  to  the  Empress  the  futility  of  the  course 
pursued.  "You  know  that  before  he  reaches  the 
palace,  much  less  your  boudoir,  he  has  been  written 
down  at  least  forty  times,"  I  reminded  her.  The 
Empress  always  agreed.  She  knew  that  the  police 
were  everywhere,  Inside  and  outside  the  palace,  in 
every  corridor,  at  every  door.  She  knew  that  there 
could  be  no  secrets  in  the  palace,  and  the  Emperor 
knew  it  as  well  as  she  did,  yet  they  persisted  in  trying 
to  shield  Rasputlne  from  the  publicity  they  knew  to  be 
Inevitable  for  everyone. 

It  was  generally  In  the  evening  that  he  was  received, 
not  because  the  eternal  police  vigilance  was  relaxed  at 
that  time,  but  because  it  was  only  in  the  evening  that 
the  Emperor  found  leisure  for  his  personal  friends. 
In  the  hour  following  dinner  It  sometimes  happened 
that  little  Alexel  came  downstairs  in  his  blue  night- 
gown to  talk  with  his  father  a  few  minutes  before  going 
to  bed.  When  on  these  occasions  Rasputlne  was  pres- 
ent, the  boy  and  his  parents  and  any  intimate  friend 
who  happened  to  be  in  the  room  would  listen  fascinated 
while  the  Strannik  talked  of  Siberia  and  its  peasants, 
of  his  wanderings  through  remote  corners  of  Russia, 
and  of  his  sojourn  in  the  Holy  Lands.  His  speech  was 
simple,  but  strangely  eloquent  and  uplifting.  Their 
Majesties  talked  gladly  to  him  of  whatever  happened 
to  be  on  their  minds,  the  ill  health  of  their  only  son, 
principally,  and  he  seemed  to  know  how  to  comfort  and 


to  give  them  hope.  They  were  always  lighter  of  heart 
after  his  visits,  and  even  had  I  conspired  with  him  to 
gain  their  friendship  the  effort  would  have  been  quite 
useless  and  unnecessary.  They  liked  him  so  well  that 
when  gossip  or  newspaper  accusations  of  Rasputine's 
drunkenness  and  debauchery  were  brought  to  their  at- 
tention they  said  only:  ''He  is  hated  because  we  love 
him."     And  that  ended  the  matter. 

I  will  say  for  the  Empress  that  although  she  had  the 
fullest  confidence  in  Rasputine's  integrity  she  thought 
it  worth  while  to  make  some  inquiries  into  his  private 
life  in  Siberia,  where  most  of  his  time  was  spent.  On 
two  occasions  she  sent  me,  with  others,  to  his  distant 
village  of  Pokrovskoe  to  visit  him.  I  wished  then,  and 
I  do  now,  that  she  had  selected  someone  wiser  and 
more  critical  than  myself.  Of  detective  ability  I  pos- 
sess not  a  trace.  With  me  it  is  always,  what  I  have 
seen  I  have  seen.  In  company  with  Mme.  Orloff, 
mother  of  General  Orloff,  and  with  two  other  women 
and  our  maids,  I  made  the  long  journey  to  Siberia 
leaving  the  railroad  at  the  little  town  of  Toumean. 
Here  Rasputine  met  us  with  a  clumsy  peasant  cart 
drawn  by  two  farm  horses.  In  this  springless  vehicle 
we  drove  eighty  versts  across  the  steppes  to  the  village 
where  Rasputine  dwelt  with  his  old  wife,  his  three  chil- 
dren, and  two  aged  spinsters  who  helped  in  the  house- 
work and  in  the  care  of  the  fields  and  the  cattle.  The 
household  was  almost  Biblical  in  its  bare  simplicity,  all 
the  guests  sleeping  in  an  upper  chamber  on  straw  mat- 
tresses laid  on  the  rough  board  floor.  Except  for  the 
beds  the  rooms  were  practically  without  furniture,  al- 
though on  the  walls  were   ikons  before  which   faint 


tapers  burned.  We  ate  our  plain  meals  in  the  common 
room  downstairs,  and  in  the  evening  there  usually  came 
four  peasant  men,  devoted  friends  of  Rasputine,  who 
were  called  "the  brothers."  Sitting  around  the  table 
they  sang  prayers  and  psalms  with  rustic  faith  and 
fervor.  Almost  every  day  we  went  down  to  the  river 
to  watch  Rasputine  and  the  brothers,  fishermen  all, 
draw  in  their  nets,  and  often  we  ate  our  dinner  by  the 
river,  cooking  fish  over  little  campfires  on  the  shore, 
sharing  in  common  our  raisins,  bread,  nuts,  and  per- 
haps a  little  pastry.  The  season  being  Lent  we  had 
no  meat,  no  milk,  nor  butter. 

On  my  return  to  Tsarskoe  Selo  I  described  this  pas- 
toral existence  to  the  Empress,  and  I  had  to  add  to  my 
observations  only  that  the  clergy  of  the  village  seemed 
to  dislike  Rasputine,  while  the  majority  of  the  villagers 
merely  took  him  for  granted  as  one  they  had  long  been 
accustomed  to.  In  a  later  year  I  was  again  sent  to 
Siberia,  this  time  with  Mme.  Julia  (Lili)  Dehn,  wife 
of  a  naval  officer  on  the  yacht  Standert,  and  several 
others,  and  a  man  servant  as  my  special  assistant  as  I 
was  then  very  lame  from  the  railroad  accident  which  I 
have  described.  This  time  we  went  by  boat  from 
Toumean  to  Tobolsk  on  the  River  Toura,  to  view  the 
relics  of  the  Metropolitan  John  of  Tobolsk,  a  sainted 
man  of  the  time  of  Peter  the  Great.  While  In  Tobolsk 
we  were  entertained  in  the  house  of  the  Governor  of 
the  Department,  the  same  house  where  in  the  first 
days  of  their  Siberian  exile  the  Imperial  Family  were 
lodged.  It  was  a  large,  very  well  furnished  house  on 
the  river,  but  one  could  see  that  in  winter  it  must  have 
been  extremely  cold.     On  our  way  back  we  stopped  for 


two  days  at  Pokrovskoe,  visiting  Rasputine  and  finding 
him  exactly  as  before,  the  old  wife  and  the  serving 
maids  still  occupied  with  household  tasks  and  with 
field  labor.  I  may  add  that  in  both  of  these  visits  I 
went  to  the  famous  monastery  of  Verchotourie,  on  the 
Ural  River,  where  are  kept  some  deeply  venerated 
relics  of  St.  Simeon.  In  the  forests  surrounding  the 
monastery  are  many  tiny  wooden  huts  in  which  dwell 
solitary  monks  or  anchorites,  and  among  these  was  a 
celebrated  old  monk  known  as  Father  Makari.  This 
aged  and  pious  monk  apparently  held  Rasputine  in 
higher  respect  than  did  the  village  clergy,  and  they 
talked  together  like  equals  and  friends,  while  we  lis- 
tened silently  but  with  deep  interest. 

The  wave  of  popular  opposition  against  Rasputine 
began,  I  should  say,  in  the  last  two  and  a  half  years  of 
his  life.  Long  after  it  began,  long  after  his  name  was 
reviled  and  execrated  in  the  press  and  in  society,  his 
lodgings  in  Petrograd,  where  he  began  to  spend  longer 
and  longer  intervals,  were  constantly  crowded  with 
beggars  and  petitioners.  These  were  people  of  all  sta- 
tions who  believed  that  whether  he  were  good  or  evil 
his  influence  at  Court  was  limitless.  Every  kind  of 
petty  official,  every  sort  of  poverty-stricken  aspirant 
and  grafting  politician,  and,  of  course,  a  whole  crew  of 
revolutionary  agents,  spies,  and  secret  police  haunted 
the  place,  pressing  on  Rasputine  papers  and  petitions 
to  be  presented  to  the  Emperor.  To  do  Rasputine 
strict  justice,  he  was  forever  telling  the  petitioners  that 
it  would  be  no  good  at  all  for  him  to  present  their 
papers,  but  he  did  not  seem  to  have  strength  of  mind 
to  refuse  point-blank  to  receive  them.     Often  in  pity 


for  those  who  were  sick  and  poor,  or  as  he  thought 
deserving,  he  would  send  them  to  one  or  another  of  his 
rich  and  influential  acquaintances  with  a  note  saying: 
"Please,  dear  friend,  receive  him."  It  is  very  sad  to 
reflect  that  his  recommendation  was  the  worst  possible 
introduction  a  poor  wretch  could  bear  with  him. 

One  of  the  hardest  tasks  which  the  Empress  imposed 
upon  me  was  the  taking  of  messages,  usually  about  the 
health  of  Alexei,  to  these  crowded  lodgings  of  Raspu- 
tine.  As  often  as  I  appeared  the  people  overwhelmed 
me  with  demands  for  money,  positions,  advancement, 
pardons,  and  what  not.  It  was  of  no  use  to  assure  the 
people  that  I  neither  possessed  nor  desired  to  possess 
the  kind  of  influence  they  believed  to  be  mine.  It  was 
equally  useless  to  assure  them  that  their  petitions,  if  I 
took  them,  would  not  be  read  by  the  Empress,  but 
would  merely  be  referred  to  her  secretary',  Count 
Rostovseff.  Sometimes  I  encountered  a  case  of  great 
distress  which  if  possible  I  tried  privately  to  relieve. 
One  day  I  met  on  the  staircase  a  very  poor  young  stu- 
dent who  asked  me  if  I  could  help  him  to  a  warm  coat. 
I  knew  where  I  could  get  such  a  coat  and  I  sent  it  to  the 
student.  Months  afterwards  when  I  was  a  prisoner 
in  the  fortress  I  received  a  note  from  this  young  man, 
telling  me  that  he  prayed  daily  for  my  safet}-  and  re- 
lease. This  almost  unique  instance  of  gratitude  re- 
mains in  my  mind  among  memories  much  less  agreeable 
of  my  visits  to  the  lodgings  of  Rasputine. 


THERE  Is  a  photograph  which,  In  the  last  days  of 
the  Empire,  was  pubHshed  all  over  Russia,  and 
was,  I  am  Informed,  also  published  In  western  Europe 
and  in  America.  It  represents  Rasputine  sitting  like  an 
oracle  in  his  lodgings,  surrounded  by  ladles  of  the 
aristocracy.  This  photograph  Is  supposed  to  Illustrate 
the  enormous  hold  which  Rasputine  possessed  on  the 
affections  of  the  women  of  the  Court.  In  plain  lan- 
guage It  is  assumed  to  be  a  representation  of  Rasputine 
sitting  In  the  midst  of  his  harem.  There  has  been  no 
account  published  which,  as  far  as  I  know,  does  not 
dwell  on  this  phase  of  the  Rasputine  story,  and  there 
have  been  books  published  In  which  the  most  erotic 
letters,  purporting  to  have  been  written  him  by  the 
Empress  herself  and  even  by  the  innocent  young  Grand 
Duchesses,  have  been  included,  the  publishers  appar- 
ently never  having  inquired  into  their  authenticity. 
Knowing  that  my  evidence  will  be  considered  of  little 
worth,  I  still  have  the  temerity  to  state  without  any 
qualification  whatsoever  that  these  stories  are  without 
the  slightest  foundation.  Rasputine  had  no  harem  at 
Court.  In  fact,  I  cannot  remotely  Imagine  a  woman 
of  education  and  refinement  being  attracted  to  him  In  a 
personal  way.  I  never  knew  of  one  being  so  attracted, 
and  although  accusations  of  secret  debauchery  with 
women  of  the  lower  classes  were  made  against  him  by 



agents  of  the  Okhrana,  the  special  inquiry  instituted 
by  the  Commission  of  the  Provisional  Government 
failed  to  produce  any  evidence  in  support  of  the 
charges.  The  police  were  never  able  to  bring  forward 
a  single  woman  of  any  class  whom  they  could  accuse 
with  Rasputine. 

The  photograph,  however,  is  authentic.     I  figure  in 
it  myself,  therefore  I  am  in  a  position  to  explain  it.     It 
shows  a  group  of  women  and  men  who  after  attending 
early  Mass  sometimes  gathered  around  Rasputine  for 
rehgious  discourse,  for  advice  on  all  manner  of  things, 
and  probably  on  the  part  of  some  for  the  gratification 
of  idle  curiosity.     I  do  not  know  whether  or  not  in 
western  countries  religion  produces  in  the  neurotic  and 
shallow-minded  a  kind  of  emotional  excitement  which 
they  mistake  for  faith,  but  in  Russia  there  was  a  time 
when  this  was  so.     For  the  most  part,  however,  it  was 
really  serious  people,  men  and  women,  who  went  after 
Mass  to  listen  to  the  discourses  of  Rasputine.     He 
was,  as  I  have  said,  an  unlettered  man,  but  he  knew  the 
Scriptures  and  his  interpretations  were  so  keen  and  so 
original    that   highly    educated   people,    even   learned 
churchmen,  liked  to  listen  to  them.    In  matters  of  faith 
and  doctrine  he  could  never  be  confused  or  confounded. 
Moreover,  his  sympathy  and  his  charity  were  so  wide 
and  tender  that  he  attracted  women  of  narrow  lives 
whose  small  troubles  might  have  been  dismissed  as 
trivial  by  ordinary  confessors.     For  example,   many 
lovelorn  women  (men  too)  used  to  go  to  those  morn- 
ing meetings  to  beg  his  prayers  on  their  heart's  behalf. 
He  knew  that  unsatisfied  love  is  a  very  real  trouble, 
and  he  was  always  gentle  and  patient  with  such  people, 


that  is,  if  their  souls  were  innocent.  For  irregular  love 
affairs  he  had  no  patience  whatever,  and  in  this  con- 
nection I  remember  an  incident  which  illustrates  this 
point,  and  also  his  remarkable  powers  of  divination,  or 
if  you  prefer,  his  keen  intuition.  A  young  married 
woman,  harmless  enough  in  her  intentions,  but  rather 
frivolous  nevertheless,  came  one  morning  to  Raspu- 
tine's  lodgings  en  route  to  a  rendezvous  with  a  hand- 
some young  officer  who  at  the  moment  strongly 
attracted  her.  It  was  her  idea  to  ask  Rasputine's 
prayers  in  behalf  of  her  special  desire,  but  before  she 
could  say  a  word  to  him  he  gave  her  a  keen  glance 
and  said  :  "I  am  going  to  relate  to  you  a  story.  Once 
when  I  was  traveling  in  Siberia  I  entered  a  small  rail- 
road station  and  beheld  at  a  table  a  monk  who  recog- 
nized me  and  begged  me  to  join  him  in  a  glass  of  tea. 
As  I  approached  the  table  I  saw  him  hastily  conceal  a 
bottle  under  the  folds  of  his  soutaine.  He  said:  'You 
are  called  a  saint.  Will  you  not  help  me  to  understand 
some  of  the  troubled  problems  of  my  life?'  I  replied 
*Ahl  You  call  me  a  saint.  But  why  do  you  at  the 
time  of  asking  me  to  help  your  troubled  soul  try  to  hide 
that  bottle  under  your  robe?'  "  The  young  woman 
turned  deathly  pale  and  without  a  word  rose  hastily 
and  left  the  room. 

This  is  only  one  of  many  similar  incidents.  Once 
at  Kiev  a  Government  functionary  approached  Raspu- 
tine  and  asked  his  prayers  for  one  lying  very  ill. 
Rasputine's  amazing  eyes  gazed  into  the  eyes  of  the 
other  and  he  said  calmly:  "I  advise  you  to  beseech 
not  my  prayers  but  those  of  Ste.  Xenia."  The  func- 
tionary   completely    taken    aback    exclaimed:     "How 




could  you  know  that  her  name  was  Xenia?"  I  could 
relate  many  other  such  instances  which  can,  of  course, 
be  attributed  to  intuition,  thought  transference,  any- 
thing you  like.  But  of  true  predictions  of  future 
events  made  by  Rasputine  what  explanation  can  be 
given?  What  of  his  mysterious  powers  over  the  sick? 
In  behalf  of  the  suffering  little  Tsarevitch  the  Em- 
peror and  Empress  constantly  asked  the  prayers  of 
Rasputine,  and  the  incident  which  I  shall  now  relate 
will  appeal  to  any  mother  or  father  of  a  suffering  child 
and  will  render  less  childlike  the  faith  of  the  afflicted 
parents  of  the  heir  to  the  throne.  One  day  during  the 
War  the  Emperor  left  Tsarskoe  Selo  for  general  head- 
quarters, taking  with  him  as  usual  the  Tsarevitch. 
The  child  seemed  to  be  in  good  condition,  but  a  few 
hours  after  leaving  the  palace  he  was  taken  with  a 
nosebleed.  This  is  ordinarily  a  harmless  enough 
manifestation,  but  in  one  suffering  from  Alexei's  in- 
curable malady  it  was  a  very  serious  thing.  The  doc- 
tors tried  every  known  remedy,  but  the  hemorrhage 
became  steadily  worse  until  death  by  exhaustion  and 
loss  of  blood  was  threatened.  I  was  with  the  Empress 
when  the  telegram  came  announcing  the  return  of  the 
Emperor  and  the  boy  to  Tsarskoe  Selo,  and  I  can 
never  forget  the  anguish  of  mind  with  which  the  poor 
mother  awaited  the  arrival  of  her  sick,  perhaps  her 
dying  child.  Nor  can  I  ever  forget  the  waxen,  grave- 
like pallor  of  the  little  pointed  face  as  the  boy  with 
infinite  care  was  borne  into  the  palace  and  laid  on  his 
little  white  bed.  Above  the  blood-soaked  bandages 
his  large  blue  eyes  gazed  at  us  with  pathos  unspeakable, 
and  it  seemed  to  all  around  the  bed  that  the  last  hour 


of  the  unhappy  child  was  at  hand.  The  physicians 
kept  up  their  ministrations,  exhausting  every  means 
known  to  science  to  stop  the  incessant  bleeding.  In 
despair  the  Empress  sent  for  Rasputine.  He  came 
into  the  room,  made  the  sign  of  the  cross  over  the  bed 
and,  looking  intently  at  the  almost  moribund  child,  said 
quietly  to  the  kneeling  parents:  "Don't  be  alarmed. 
Nothing  will  happen."  Then  he  walked  out  of  the 
room  and  out  of  the  palace. 

That  was  all.  The  child  fell  asleep,  and  the  next 
day  was  so  well  that  the  Emperor  left  for  his  inter- 
rupted visit  to  the  Stavka.  Dr.  Derevanko  and  Pro- 
fessor Fedoroff  told  me  afterwards  that  they  did  not 
even  attempt  to  explain  the  cure.  It  was  simply  a 
fact.  For  this  and  for  other  like  services  Rasputine 
never  received  any  money  from  the  Emperor  or  the 
Empress.  Indeed  he  was  never  given  any  money  by 
their  Majesties  except  an  occasional  one-hundred- 
ruble  note  to  pay  cab  fares  and  traveling  expenses 
when  he  was  sent  for.  In  the  last  two  years  of  his  life 
the  rent  of  his  modest  lodgings  in  Petrograd  was 
paid.  What  money  he  had  was  received  from  peti- 
tioners who  hoped  through  him  to  benefit  in  high  quar- 
ters. Rasputine  took  this  money,  but  he  gave  most  of 
it  to  the  poor,  so  that  when  he  died  his  family  was  left 
practically  penniless.  That  Rasputine,  whatever  his 
faults,  was  no  mercenary  is  the  simple  truth.  As  far 
back  as  19 13  Kokovseff,  Minister  of  Finance,  who  dis- 
liked and  distrusted  Rasputine,  offered  him  200,000 
rubles  if  he  would  leave  Petrograd  and  never  return. 
Two  hundred  thousand  rubles  was  a  fortune  beyond  the 
dream  of  avarice  to  a  Russian  peasant,  but  Rasputine 


declined  it,  saying  that  he  was  not  to  be  bought  by  any- 
body. "If  their  Majesties  wish  me  to  leave  Petrograd," 
he  said,  "I  will  go  at  once,  and  for  no  money  at  all." 

I  know  of  many  cases  of  illness  where  the  prayers  of 
Rasputine  were  asked,  and  had  he  been  so  minded  he 
might  have  demanded  and  been  given  vast  sums  of 
money.  But  the  fact  is  he  often  showed  himself  ex- 
tremely reluctant  to  exert  whatever  strange  power  he 
possessed.  In  some  instances  where  sick  children  were 
involved  he  would  even  object,  saying:  "If  God  takes 
him  now  it  is  perhaps  to  save  him  from  future  sins." 

This  indifference  to  money  on  the  part  of  Rasputine 
was  all  the  more  conspicuous  in  a  country  where  almost 
every  hand  was  stretched  out  for  reward,  graft,  or 
blackmail.  The  episode  of  one  of  Rasputine's  bitter- 
est enemies,  the  "mad"  monk  lUiador,  is  illuminating. 
Illiador  was  a  person  altogether  disreputable,  an  un- 
frocked monk,  and  in  my  opinion  a  man  mentally  as 
well  as  morally  irresponsible.  He  made  friends  with 
certain  ministers,  among  them  Chvostoff,  one  of  several 
who,  after  the  death  of  Stolypine,  held  for  a  time  the 
portfolio  of  Minister  of  the  Interior.  Between  Chvo- 
stoff and  Illiador  was  concocted  a  plot  to  assassinate 
Rasputine.  This  was  not  successful  because  Illiador 
made  the  mistake  of  sending  his  wife  to  Petrograd  with 
incriminating  documents.  But  he  was  able  to  send  a 
woman  to  Siberia,  and  she  dealt  Rasputine  a  knife 
wound  from  which  he  with  difficulty  recovered.  This 
was  in  1914. 

After  Rasputine  the  object  of  Illiador's  greatest 
hatred  was  the  Empress.  His  plot  against  Rasputine 
failing,  he  wrote  against  the  Empress  one  of  the  most 


scurrilous  and  obscene  books  imaginable,  but  before 
attempting  to  publish  it  he  sent  her  word  that  he  would 
sell  her  the  manuscript  for  sixty  thousand  rubles.  Pub- 
lishers in  America,  he  wrote,  would  pay  him  a  much 
higher  price  for  the  book,  but  he  was  willing  to  sacrifice 
something  to  save  a  woman's  reputation.  To  this  low 
blackmailer  the  indignant  Empress  returned  no  answer 
at  all.  Illiador  lives  in  Russia  now,  a  great  favorite 
with  the  Bolsheviki  because  of  his  bitter  attacks  on  the 
clergy.  But  whether  or  not  they  permitted  him  to 
retain  his  profits  on  the  book  against  the  Empress  I  do 
not  know. 

But  what  of  Rasputine's  political  influence,  his  trea- 
son with  the  Germans?  The  excuse  for  his  murder 
was  that  he  was  leading  the  Emperor  and  Empress  into 
the  German  net,  persuading  them  to  betray  the  Allies 
by  making  a  separate  peace.  If  I  knew  or  suspected 
this  to  be  true  I  would  not  hesitate  to  record  it  here. 
I  would  not  dare  to  suppress  such  important  historical 
evidence,  if  I  had  it,  because  all  that  I  am  writing  in 
this  book  is  for  the  future,  not  the  present;  for  history, 
not  for  the  ephemeral  journalism  of  the  day.  Min- 
isters, politicians,  churchmc  haunted  the  lodgings  of 
Rasputine,  and  if  any  man  ever  had  an  opportunity 
to  mingle  in  secret  diplomacy  he  was  that  man.  As  a 
matter  of  plain  justice  to  him,  I  do  not  believe  such 
matters  ever  interested  him.  On  two  occasions  of 
which  I  have  knowledge  he  did  give  the  Emperor  po- 
litical advice,  and  very  shrewd  advice,  although  it  was 
received  with  irritation  and  resentment  by  his  Majesty. 
One  of  these  occasions  was  in  19 12  when  Grand  Duke 
Nicholas,  whose  wife   it  will  be   remembered  was   a 


Montenegran,  tried  his  every  power  of  persuasion  to 
bring  Russia  into  the  Balkan  Wars.  Rasputine  im- 
plored the  Emperor  not  to  listen  to  this  counsel.  Only- 
enemies  of  Russia,  he  declared,  wanted  to  involve  their 
country  in  that  struggle,  the  inevitable  outcome  of 
which  would  be  disaster  to  the  Empire  and  to  the  house 
of  Romanoff. 

Rasputine  always  dreaded  war,  predicting  that  it 
would  surely  bring  ruin  to  Russia  and  the  monarchy. 
At  the  beginning  of  the  World  War  he  was  lying 
wounded  by  lUiador's  assassin  in  Siberia,  but  he  sent  a 
long  telegram  to  the  Emperor  begging  him  to  pre- 
serve peace.  The  Emperor,  believing  intervention  in 
Serbia  a  point  of  honor,  tore  up  the  telegram  and  for 
a  time  appeared  rather  cold  towards  Rasputine,  But 
as  the  War  progressed  they  became  friends  again,  for 
after  it  became  inevitable  Rasputine  wanted  the  War 
fought  through  to  a  victorious  end.  The  last  time  the 
Emperor  saw  him,  about  a  month  before  his  assassina- 
tion, he  gave  a  signal  proof  of  this.  The  meeting  took 
place  in  my  house,  and  I  heard  every  word  of  the  con- 
versation. The  Emperor  was  depressed  and  pessimis- 
tic. Owing  to  heavy  stori  n  and  lack  of  transportation 
facilities  there  had  been  difficulty  in  getting  foodstuffs 
into  Petrograd,  and  even  some  army  battalions  were 
lacking  certain  necessities.  Nature  itself,  said  the 
Emperor,  seemed  to  be  working  against  Russia's  suc- 
cess in  the  War,  to  which  Rasputine  replied  strongly 
advising  the  Emperor  never,  on  any  account,  to  be 
tempted  to  give  up  the  struggle.  The  country  that 
held  out  the  longest  against  adverse  circumstances,  he 
said,  would  certainly  win  the  War. 


As  Rasputine  was  leaving  the  house  the  Emperor 
asked  him,  as  usual,  for  his  blessing,  but  Rasputine  re- 
plied :  "This  time  it  is  for  you  to  bless  me,  not  I  you." 
Finally  at  parting  he  humbly  begged  the  Emperor  to 
do  everything  he  could  In  behalf  of  the  wounded  and 
of  war  orphans,  reminding  him  that  all  Russia  was 
giving  its  nearest  and  dearest  for  his  sake.  Did  Ras- 
putine on  this  day  have  a  premonition  of  the  fate  that 
was  so  soon  to  overtake  him?  I  cannot  answer  that 
question.  It  is  impossible  for  me  to  know  with  any  cer- 
tainty whether  or  not  this  strange  man  was  actually 
gifted  with  the  spirit  of  prophecy  or  whether  his  fre- 
quent forecastings  of  truth  were  simply  fruits  of  a 
mind  more  than  normally  keen  and  observant.  All  I 
can  do,  all  I  have  attempted  to  do,  is  to  picture  Raspu- 
tine as  I  knew  him.  I  never  once  saw  him  otherwise 
than  I  have  described.  I  knew  that  he  was  reputed  to 
drink  and  to  indulge  in  other  reprehensible  practices.  I 
heard,  I  suppose,  every  wild  tale  that  was  told  of  him. 
But  no  one  ever  presented  to  the  Imperial  Family  or  to 
myself  any  evidence,  any  facts  in  support  of  these  ac- 
cusations. It  is  a  matter  of  record,  and  this  the  his- 
torians of  the  future  will  stress,  that  this  man  was 
called  a  criminal,  but  that  he  was  never  meted  out  the 
common  justice  which  is  supposed  to  be  the  right  of  the 
most  abandoned  criminal.  He  was  accused  of  name- 
less crimes  and  he  was  executed  for  those  crimes.  But 
he  was  denied  even  the  rough  justice  of  a  trial  by  his 
self-appointed  judges.  Did  "Tsarist"  Russia  ever  do 
such  a  thing  to  a  man  caught  red-handed  in  the  murder 
of  an  Emperor? 

I  have  added  as  an  appendix  to  this  book  a  document 


which  has  been  published  in  Russian  and  French,  but 
which  I  believe  appears  here  for  the  first  time  in  Eng- 
lish. It  is  the  statement  of  Vladimir  Michailovitch 
Roudnefli,  a  judge  of  a  superior  court  in  Ekaterinoslav, 
one  of  a  number  of  distinguished  jurists  appointed  by 
Kerensky,  when  Minister  of  Justice  in  the  Provisional 
Government,  to  a  special  High  Commission  of  Inquiry 
and  Investigation  into  the  Acts  of  the  Sovereigns  and 
other  prominent  personages  before  the  Revolution  of 
1 9 17.  Judge  Roudneff,  with  great  courage  and  hon- 
esty, made  an  effort  to  sift  the  evidence  against  Raspu- 
tine  and  to  separate  truth  from  mere  rumor.  That  he 
was  unable  to  treat  the  matter  in  a  mood  of  perfect 
judicial  calm,  although  he  earnestly  wished  to  do  so, 
is  proof  enough  of  the  madness  of  the  Russian  mind  in 
that  time  of  turmoil  and  bewilderment.  Anyone  at  all 
familiar  with  rules  of  evidence  will  perceive  how,  with 
the  best  intentions.  Judge  Roudneff  often  offers  opinion 
where  facts  alone  are  called  for.  A  great  many  of  his 
statements,  if  given  in  a  court  of  justice,  would  in  any 
civilized  country  be  challenged  and  probably  ruled  out. 
However,  the  statement  is  valuable  because  it  is  the 
unique  attempt  of  a  justice-loving  individual  to  escape 
from  the  mob  mind  of  19 17  Russia  and  to  present  im- 
partially the  known  facts  about  Rasputine.  For  his 
honesty  in  insisting  that  the  facts  be  made  public  Judge 
Roudneff  was  ignominiously  removed  from  the  commis- 
sion by  its  president.  Judge  Mouravieff.  As  far  as  I 
know  and  believe,  none  of  the  other  members  of  the 
commission  attempted  to  publish  their  findings. 

I  shall  always  feel  that  it  was  a  great  pity  that 
Rasputine  was  not  arrested,  tried  in  the  presence  of  his 


accusers  and  of  all  available  witnesses,  and  if  found 
guilty  punished  to  the  very  limit  of  the  law.  As  it  was 
he  was  merely  lynched  and  the  question  of  his  guilt  or 
innocence  will  ever  remain  unsolved.  Latest  accounts 
certainly  absolve  the  Empress  of  Russia  from  being  his 
tool  and  his  guilty  partner,  and  death,  whether  by  as- 
sassination or  at  the  hand  of  public  justice,  has  the  same 
end,  the  righteous  judgment  of  God,  and  from  that 
perfect  justice  not  the  worst  enemy  of  the  man  could 
bar  the  soul  of  Rasputine. 

One  thing  more  I  deeply  regret  and  that  is  that 
Judge  Roudneff  could  not  have  tried  Rasputine  in  per- 
son as  he  did  try  me.  I  appeared  before  him  no  less 
than  fifteen  times  and  I  always  found  him  studious  at 
getting  at  the  truth,  separating  facts  from  hysterical 
gossip,  all  in  the  interests  of  justice  and  of  historical 
records.  In  his  reports  concerning  me  there  are  some 
errors,  but  not  serious  ones,  some  confusion  of  dates, 
but  nothing  important,  and  once  or  twice  some  trifling 
injustice  for  which  I  bear  not  the  slightest  malice. 
Judge  Roudneff,  for  example,  accuses  me  of  loquacity, 
and  in  my  testimony  of  jumping  irrelevantly  from  one 
thought  to  another.  I  cannot  help  wondering  if  even 
a  learned  judge,  after  weeks  of  imprisonment,  accom- 
panied by  inhuman  insults  and  bodily  injuries,  and  for 
the  first  time  given  an  opportunity  for  explanation  and 
self-defense,  would  have  spoken  in  quite  a  calm  and 
normal  manner.  However,  I  do  not  complain  of  any- 
thing Judge  Roudneff  says  of  me.  I  am  grateful  to  the 
only  Russian  in  a  position  of  authority  who  has  had 
the  chivalry  to  give  me  the  benefit  of  a  reasonable 


All    others,    including   members    of    the    Romanoff 
family  who  have  known  me  from  my  earliest  childhood, 
who  in  youth  danced  and  chatted  with  me  at  Court 
balls,  who  knew  my  mother  and  my  father,  with  his 
long  and  honorable  record,  have  assailed  me  without  a 
shred  of  mercy.    They  have  represented  me  as  a  com- 
mon   upstart,    an    outsider   in    society    who    managed 
through  unworthy  schemes  to  worm  her  way  into  the 
confidence  of  the  Empress.    They  have  represented  me 
as  an  abandoned  woman,  a  criminal,  a  would-be  poi- 
soner of  the  Tsarevitch.     They  have  been  so  loud  in 
their  denunciations  of  one  defenseless  woman  that  they 
have  succeeded  in  concealing  the  fact  of  their  own  par- 
ticipation  in   events    for  which   the   Sovereigns  were 
brought  to  ruin.     They  have  thrown  a  blind  before 
their    responsibility    for    bringing    Rasputine    to    the 
Court  of  Russia.    Never  do  they  allow  it  to  be  remem- 
bered that  it  was  the  Grand  Dukes  Nicholas  and  Peter 
and  their  Montenegran  wives,  Stana  and  Melitza,  who 
introduced   the   Emperor   and   Empress   to   the   poor 
peasant  pilgrim  who,  had  he  never  been  taken  up  by 
these  aristocrats,  might  have  lived  out  an  obscure,  and 
perhaps  valuable,  existence  in  far  Siberia.    It  was  easier 
for  these  powerful  ones,  these  sheltered  women,  these 
noble  gentlemen,  to  avoid  explanation  of  their  part  in 
the  Russian   tragedy  and  to  take  refuge  behind   the 
skirts  of  a  woman  who,  after  the  overthrow  of  the 
Imperial  Family,  had  not  a  friend  on  earth  to  defend 
or  to  protect  her. 


TWO  days  after  the  return  of  the  Empress  from 
her  visit  to  Novgorod,  in  the  earliest  hours  of 
December  17  (December  31,  Western  Calendar)  was 
struck  the  first  blow  of  the  "bloodless"  Russian  Revo- 
lution, the  assassination  of  Rasputine.  On  the  after- 
noon of  December  16  (December  30)  I  was  sent  by 
the  Empress  on  an  errand,  entirely  non-political,  to 
Rasputine's  lodgings.  I  went,  as  always,  reluctantly, 
because  I  knew  the  evil  construction  which  would  be 
placed  on  my  errand  by  any  of  the  conspirators  who 
happened  to  see  me.  Yet,  as  in  duty  bound,  I  went. 
I  stayed  the  shortest  possible  time,  but  in  that  brief 
interval  I  heard  Rasputine  say  that  he  expected  to  pay 
a  late  evening  visit  to  the  Yusupoff  Palace  to  meet 
Grand  Duchess  Irene,  wife  of  Prince  Felix  Yusupoff. 
Although  I  knew  that  Felix  had  often  visited  Raspu- 
tine it  struck  me  as  odd  that  he  should  go  to  their  house 
for  the  first  time  at  such  an  unseemly  hour.  But  to  my 
question  Rasputine  replied  that  Felix  did  not  wish  his 
parents  to  know  of  his  visit.  As  I  was  leaving  the 
place  Rasputine  said  a  strange  thing  to  me.  "What 
more  do  you  want?"  he  asked  in  a  low  voice.  "Al- 
ready you  have  received  all."  All  that  his  prayers 
could  give  me?     Did  he  mean  that? 

That  evening  in  the  Empress's  boudoir  I  mentioned 



this  proposed  midnight  visit,  and  the  Empress  said  in 
some  surprise:  "But  there  must  be  some  mistake. 
Irene  is  in  the  Crimea,  and  neither  of  the  older  Yusup- 
offs  are  in  town."  Once  again  she  repeated  thought- 
fully :  "There  is  surely  a  mistake,"  and  then  we  began 
to  talk  of  other  things.  The  next  morning  soon  after 
breakfast  I  was  called  on  the  telephone  by  one  of  the 
daughters  of  Rasputine,  both  of  whom  were  being 
educated  in  Petrograd.  In  some  anxiety  the  young 
girl  told  me  that  her  father  had  gone  out  the  night 
before  in  the  Yusupoff  motor  car  and  had  not  returned. 
I  was  startled,  of  course,  and  even  a  little  frightened, 
but  I  did  not  then  guess  the  real  significance  of  her 
news.  When  I  reached  the  palace  I  gave  the  message 
to  the  Empress,  who  listened  with  a  grave  face  but 
with  little  comment.  A  few  minutes  later  there  came 
a  telephone  call  from  Protopopoff  in  Petrograd.  The 
police,  he  said,  had  reported  to  him  that  some  time 
after  the  last  midnight  a  patrolman  standing  near  the 
entrance  of  the  Yusupoff  Palace  had  been  startled  by 
the  report  of  a  pistol.  Ringing  the  doorbell,  he  was 
met  by  a  Duma  member  named  Puritchkevitch  who  ap- 
peared to  be  in  an  advanced  stage  of  intoxication.  In 
answer  to  the  policeman's  inquiry  as  to  whether  there 
was  trouble  in  the  house  the  drunken  Puritchkevitch 
said  in  a  jocular  tone  that  it  was  nothing,  nothing  at 
all,  only  they  had  just  killed  Rasputine.  The  police- 
man, probably  a  none  too  intelligent  specimen,  took  it 
as  a  casual  joke  of  one  of  the  high-born.  They  were 
always  joking  about  Rasputine.  The  man  moved  on, 
but  somewhat  later  he  decided  that  he  ought  to  report 
the  matter  to  headquarters,  which  he  did,  but  even  then 



his  superiors  appear  to  have  been  too  incredulous  to 
act  at  once. 

Protopopoff's  message,  however,  so  disquieted  the 
Empress  that  she  asked  me  to  summon  another  of  her 
trusted  friends,  Mme.  Dehn,  whose  name  I  have  men- 
tioned before.  Mme.  Dehn  came  and  we  tallced  over 
the  mystery  together,  but  still  without  conviction  that 
Puritchkevitch's  reckless  statement  contained  any  real 
truth.  Later  in  the  day,  however,  came  a  telephone 
message  from  Grand  Duke  Dmitri  Pavlovitch,  asking 
to  be  allowed  to  take  tea  with  the  Empress  that  after- 
noon at  five.  The  message  was  conveyed  to  tlhie 
Empress,  who,  pale  and  reflective,  answered  formally 
that  she  did  not  care  just  then  to  receive  his  Highness. 
Dmitri  took  the  reply  in  bad  grace,  insisting  that  he 
must  see  the  Empress  as  he  had  something  special  to 
tell  her.  Again  the  Empress  refused,  this  time  even 
more  curtly.  Almost  immediately  afterwards,  almost 
as  if  the  two  men  were  in  the  same  room,  there  came  a 
telephone  message  from  Felix  Yusupoff  asking  if  I 
would  see  him  at  tea,  or  later  in  the  day  if  I  so  pre- 
ferred. I  answered  that  the  Empress  did  not  wish  me 
to  receive  any  visitors  that  day,  whereupon  Felix  de- 
manded an  audience  with  the  Empress  that  he  might 
give  her  a  true  account  of  what  had  occurred.  Her 
Majesty's  reply  was :  "If  Felix  has  anything  to  say  let 
him  write  to  me."  Several  times  before  the  day  ended 
telephone  messages  came  from  Felix  to  me,  but  none 
of  these  would  the  Empress  allow  me  to  answer. 

Felix  finally  wrote  a  letter  to  the  Empress.  I  cannot 
quote  this  letter  verbatim,  but  I  remember  exactly  its 
contents.     By   the   honor   of  his   house   Prince   Felix 


Yusupoff  swore  to  his  Sovereign  Empress  that  the 
rumor  of  Rasputine's  visit  to  his  home  was  without 
any  foundation  whatever.  He  had  indeed  seen  Raspu- 
tine  in  the  interests  of  Irene's  health,  but  he  had  never 
decoyed  the  man  to  his  palace,  as  charged.  There 
had  been  a  party  there,  on  the  night  in  question,  just  a 
few  friends,  including  Dmitri,  to  celebrate  the  opening 
of  Felix's  new  apartments.  All,  he  confessed,  became 
drunk,  and  some  foolish  and  reckless  things  were  said 
and  done.  By  chance,  on  leaving  the  house,  one  of  the 
guests  had  shot  a  dog  in  the  courtyard.  That  was 
absolutely  all.  This  letter  was  not  answered,  but  was 
turned  over  to  the  Minister  of  Justice. 

Thoroughly  aroused,  the  Empress  now  ordered 
Protopopoff  to  make  an  investigation  of  the  whole 
affair.  She  called  into  council  also  Minister  of  War 
Belaieff,  a  good  man,  afterwards  murdered  by  the 
Bolsheviki.  The  police,  at  their  commands,  went  to 
the  deserted  Yusupoff  palace,  first  searching  for  and 
finding  the  body  of  the  dog  which  Felix  said  they  had 
shot.  But  the  bullet  hole  in  the  dog's  head  had  let  out 
little  blood,  and  when  the  men  entered  the  palace  they 
found  it  a  veritable  shambles  of  blood  and  disorder. 
Evidences  of  a  terrific  struggle  were  found  in  the  down- 
stairs study  of  Prince  Felix,  on  the  stairs  leading  to  an 
upper  room,  and  in  the  room  itself.  Then,  indeed,  the 
whole  power  of  the  police  was  invoked,  and  somebody 
was  found  to  testify  that  in  the  dead  of  night  a  motor 
car  without  any  lights  was  seen  leaving  the  Yusupoff 
Palace  and  disappearing  in  the  direction  of  the  Neva. 
Winter  nights  in  Russia  are  very  dark,  as  everyone 
knows,   and  the  car  was  soon  swallowed  up  in  the 


shadows.  The  river  was  next  searched,  and  by  a  hole 
in  the  ice,  not  far  from  Krestovsky  Island,  the  police 
found  a  man's  golosh.  By  Protopopoff's  orders  divers 
immediately  searched  the  hole  in  the  ice,  and  from  it 
was  soon  dragged  the  frozen  body  of  Rasputine.  Arms 
and  legs  were  tightly  bound  with  cords,  but  the  unfortu- 
nate man  had  managed  to  work  loose  his  right  hand 
which  was  frozen  in  a  last  attempt  to  make  the  sign  of 
the  cross.  The  body  was  taken  to  the  Chesma  Hospital, 
where  an  autopsy  was  performed.  Although  there 
were  bullet  holes  in  the  back  and  innumerable  cuts  and 
wounds  all  over  the  body,  the  lungs  were  full  of  water, 
proving  that  they  had  thrown  him  alive  into  the  icy 
river,  and  that  death  had  occurred  by  drowning. 

As  soon  as  the  news  became  public  all  Petrograd 
burst  into  a  wild  orgy  of  rejoicing.  The  "beast"  was 
slain,  the  "evil  genius"  had  disappeared  never  to  re- 
turn. There  was  no  limit  to  the  wild  hysteria  of  the 
hour.  In  the  midst  of  these  demonstrations  came  a 
telephone  message  from  Protopopoff  asking  the  Em- 
press's advice  as  to  an  immediate  burial  place  for  the 
murdered  man.  Ultimately  the  body  would  be  sent  to 
his  Siberian  village,  but  in  the  present  circumstances 
the  Minister  of  the  Interior  thought  a  postponement 
of  this  advisable.  The  Empress  agreed,  and  she  re- 
plied that  a  temporary  interment  might  be  arranged 
at  Tsarskoe  Selo.  On  December  29  (January  12)  the 
coffin,  accompanied  by  a  kind-hearted  sister  of  mercy, 
arrived  at  Tsarskoe.  That  same  day  the  Emperor 
came  home  from  the  front,  and  in  the  presence  of  the 
Imperial  Family  and  myself  the  briefest  of  services 
were  held.     On  the  dead  man's  breast  had  been  laid  an 


ikon  from  Novgorod,  signed  on  the  reverse  by  the 
Empress  and  her  daughters  as  a  last  token  of  respect. 
The  coffin  was  not  even  buried  in  consecrated  ground, 
but  in  a  corner  of  the  palace  park,  and  as  it  was  being 
lowered  a  few  prayers  were  said  by  Father  Alexander, 
priest  of  the  Imperial  chapel.  This  is  a  true  account 
of  the  burial  of  Rasputine,  about  which  so  many  fan- 
tastic tales  have  been  embroidered. 

The  horror  and  shock  caused  by  this  lynching,  for  it 
can  be  called  by  no  other  name,  completely  shattered 
the  nerves  of  the  family.  The  Emperor  was  affected 
less  by  the  deed  itself  than  by  the  fact  that  it  was  the 
work  of  members  of  his  own  family.  "Before  all 
Russia,"  he  exclaimed,  "I  am  filled  with  shame  that  the 
hands  of  my  kinsmen  are  stained  with  the  blood  of  a 
simple  peasant."  Before  this  he  had  often  shown  dis- 
gust at  the  excesses  of  the  Grand  Dukes  and  their  fol- 
lowers, but  now  he  expressed  himself  as  being  entirely 
through  with  them  all. 

But  Yusupoff  and  the  others  were  by  no  means 
through  with  the  Rasputine  affair.  Now  that  they 
had  murdered  and  were  applauded  for  the  deed  by  all 
society,  it  seemed  to  them  that  they  were  in  a  position 
to  claim  full  legal  immunity.  Grand  Duke  Alexander 
Michailovitch,  the  Emperor's  brother-in-law,  went  to 
Dobrovolsky,  Minister  of  Justice,  and  with  a  good 
deal  of  swagger  told  him  that  it  was  the  will  of  the 
family — that  is,  of  the  Grand  Dukes — that  the  whole 
matter  should  be  quietly  dropped.  The  next  day,  De- 
cember 21  (January  5),  Alexander  Michailovitch 
drove  with  his  oldest  son  to  Tsarskoe  Selo  and,  without 
the  slightest  assumption  of  deference  or  respect,  en- 


tered  the  Emperor's  study,  demanding,  in  the  name  of 
the  family,  that  no  further  investigation  of  the  manner 
of  Rasputine's  death  be  made.  In  a  voice  that  could 
easily  be  heard  in  the  corridor  outside  the  Grand  Duke 
shouted  that  should  the  Emperor  refuse  this  demand 
the  throne  itself  would  fall.  The  Emperor's  answer 
to  this  insolence  was  an  order  of  banishment  to  their 
estates  of  Nicholai  Michailovitch,  Felix,  and  Dmitri. 
At  this  the  wrath  of  the  Grand  Dukes  knew  no  bounds., 
A  letter  blazing  with  anger  and  impudence,  signed  by 
the  whole  family,  was  rushed  to  the  Emperor,  but  his 
only  comment  was  a  single  sentence  written  on  the  mar- 
gin: "Nobody  has  a  right  to  commit  murder."  Fol- 
lowing this  came  a  cringing  letter  from  Dmitri  who, 
like  Felix,  tried  to  lie  himself  out  of  all  complicity  in 
the  crime.  On  his  sacred  honor,  he  declared  he  had 
had  nothing  to  do  with  it.  If  the  Emperor  would  only 
consent  to  see  him  he  promised  to  establish  his  Inno- 
cence. But  the  Emperor  would  not  consent  to  see 
Dmitri.  Pale  and  stern  he  moved  through  the  rooms 
or  sat  so  darkly  plunged  in  thought  that  none  of  us 
ventured  to  disturb  or  even  to  speak  to  him.  Into  this 
troubled  atmosphere  a  letter  was  brought  to  the  Em- 
peror by  the  Minister  of  the  Interior,  who  had  a  right 
to  seize  suspicious  mail  matter.  It  was  a  letter  written 
by  the  Princess  Yusupoff  to  the  Grand  Duchess  Xenia, 
sister  of  the  Tsar  and  mother  of  Felix  Yusupoff's  wife. 
It  was  a  most  indiscreet  letter  to  be  sent  at  such  a  time, 
for  it  was  a  clear  admission  of  the  guilt  of  all  the  plot- 
ters. Although  as  a  mother  (she  wrote)  she  felt 
deeply  her  son's  position,  she  congratulated  the  Grand 
Duchess  Zenia  on  her  husband's  conduct  In  the  affair. 



Sandro,  she  said,  had  saved  the  whole  situation,  evi- 
dently meaning  that  his  demand  for  immunity  for  all 
concerned  would  have  to  be  granted.  She  was  only 
sorry  that  the  principals  had  not  been  able  to  bring 
their  enterprise  to  its  desired  end.  However,  there 
remained  only  the  task  of  confining  Her.  Before  the 
affair  was  finally  concluded,  she  feared,  they  might  send 
Nicholai  Nicholaievitch  and  Stana  to  their  estates. 
How  stupid  to  have  sent  away  Nicholai  Michailovitch ! 

This  was  by  no  means  the  end  of  letters  and  tele- 
grams seized  by  the  police  and  brought  to  the  palace. 
Many  were  written  by  relatives  and  close  friends, 
people  of  the  highest  rank,  and  they  all  revealed  a 
depth  of  callousness  and  treachery  undreamed  of  be- 
fore by  the  unhappy  Sovereigns.  When  the  Empress 
read  these  communications  and  realized  that  her  near- 
est and  dearest  connections  were  In  the  ranks  of  her 
enemies,  her  head  sank  on  her  breast,  her  eyes  grew 
dark  with  sorrow,  and  her  whole  countenance  seemed 
to  wither  and  grow  old.  A  few  days  later  the  Grand 
Duchess  Serge  sent  her  sister  several  sacred  ikons  from 
the  shrine  of  Saratoff.  The  Empress,  without  even 
looking  at  them,  ordered  them  sent  back  to  the  convent 
of  the  Grand  Duchess  in  Moscow. 

I  should  add  that  from  the  day  of  the  assassination 
of  Rasputine  my  mail  was  full  of  anonymous  letters 
threatening  me  with  death.  The  Empress,  perhaps 
more  than  any  of  us.  Instinctively  aware  of  the  endless 
ramifications  of  the  Rasputine  affair,  commanded  me 
in  terms  that  admitted  of  no  argument  to  leave  my 
house  and  to  take  up  residence  in  the  palace.  Sad  as 
I  was  to  leave  the  peace  of  my  little  home,  I  had  no 


alternative  than  to  obey,  and  with  my  maid  I  moved 
into  two  rooms  in  the  Grand  Ducal  wing  of  the  palace, 
occupied  also  by  maids  of  honor  and  reached  by  the 
fourth  large  entrance  to  the  palace.  From  that  day, 
by  command  of  their  Majesties,  every  movement  of 
mine  was  closely  guarded.  The  soldier  Jouk  was  as- 
signed to  my  service  and  without  him  I  never  left  the 
palace  even  to  visit  my  hospital.  When  in  the  Febru- 
ary following  my  only  brother  was  married  I  was  not 
allowed  to  attend  the  wedding. 

Little  by  little,  in  spite  of  fears,  the  palace  took  on 
a  certain  air  of  tranquillity.  In  the  evenings  we  sat  in 
the  mauve  boudoir  of  the  Empress;  and  as  of  old,  the 
Emperor  read  aloud.  At  Christmas  their  Majesties 
saw  that  the  customary  trees  and  gifts  were  sent  to  the 
hospitals  and  that  the  usual  presents  were  distributed 
to  the  servants.  The  children  too  had  their  Christmas 
celebration,  but  over  us  all  hung  a  cloud  of  sorrow  and 
of  disillusionment.  Never  had  the  Emperor  and  Em- 
press of  Russia,  rulers  of  nearly  two  hundred  million 
souls,  seemed  so  lonely  or  so  helpless.  Deserted  and 
betrayed  by  their  relatives,  calumniated  by  men  who.  In 
the  eyes  of  the  outside  world,  seemed  to  represent  the 
Russian  people,  they  had  no  one  left  except  a  few  faith- 
ful friends,  and  the  Emperor's  chosen  ministers  every 
one  of  whom  was  under  the  ban  of  popular  obloquy. 
Most  of  them  were  accused  of  being  the  appointees  of 
Rasputine,  but  this  at  least  I  am  in  a  position  to  deny. 

Sturmer,  Minister  of  the  Interior,  and  afterwards 
Prime  Minister,  was,  according  to  Witte,  recommended 
to  the  Tsar  after  the  assassination  of  Pleve.  The 
well-known  fact  that  Sturmer  was  head  of  the  nobility 


in  the  Government  of  Tver,  that  he  was  possessed  of 
enormous  estates,  and  that  he  had  held  several  impor- 
tant positions  at  Court,  ought  to  be  sufficient  proof 
that  he  needed  no  help  from  Rasputine  or  any  other 
man.  Sturmer  was  an  old  man,  not  brilliant  perhaps, 
but  certainly  a  man  of  high  principles.  He  was  ar- 
rested by  the  Provisional  Government,  and  in  the 
fortress  suffered  such  frightful  hardships  that  he  died 
within  a  day  after  the  Government,  unable  to  fasten  on 
him  the  slightest  guilt,  released  him  from  prison.  The 
Social  Revolutionary  Sokoloff,  a  just  man,  if  wrong- 
headed,  has  declared  publicly  that  had  any  Constitu- 
tional Assembly  been  held  in  Russia,  the  responsibility 
of  Sturmer's  death  would  have  been  laid  upon  Milukoff 

As  for  Protopopoff,  he  was  appointed  by  the  Em- 
peror mainly  on  his  record  as  a  confidential  agent  of 
the  Duma,  and  as  a  personal  representative  of  Rod- 
zianko,  President  of  the  Fourth  Duma.  After  Proto- 
popoff's  return  from  an  important  foreign  mission  on 
behalf  of  the  Duma  he  was  presented  to  the  Emperor 
at  G.  H.  Q.,  and  in  a  letter  to  the  Empress  a  few  days 
later,  he  expressed  himself  as  delighted  with  the  man. 
The  appointment  was  made  in  one  of  those  moments 
of  impulse  characteristic  of  Nicholas  II,  yet  it  must 
have  been  the  result  of  some  reflection,  as  it  was  the 
Emperor's  expressed  desire  at  this  time  to  name  a  Min- 
ister of  the  Interior  who  could  work  in  harmony  with 
the  Duma.  Protopopoff,  who,  aside  from  his  relations 
with  Rodzianko,  had  for  many  years  been  a  delegate 
from  his  own  Zemstvo  to  the  Union  of  Zemstvos, 
naturally  appealed  to  the  Emperor  as  an  ideal  popular 


candidate.  No  one  could  have  been  more  astonished 
than  he  when,  almost  immediately  after  his  appoint- 
ment, Rodzianko  and  almost  the  entire  majority  party 
in  the  Duma  joined  in  a  clamor  for  Protopopoff's  re- 
moval. The  only  charge  I  ever  heard  against  him  was 
that  his  mind  had  suddenly  failed.  Protopopoff,  who 
was  a  man  of  high  breeding,  was  nevertheless  exceed- 
ingly nervous,  and  I  always  thought,  somewhat  weak- 
willed.  He  was  not  the  infirm  old  man  he  has 
generally  been  represented,  being  about  sixty-four  years 
of  age  with  white  hair  and  mustache  and  young,  bright 
black  eyes.  That  he  had  plenty  of  physical  and  moral 
courage  was  proved  by  his  conduct  after  the  Revolu- 
tion. Walking  to  the  door  of  the  council  chamber  of 
the  Duma  he  announced  himself  thus:  "I  am  Proto- 
popoff. Arrest  me  if  you  like."  He  was  arrested  by 
orders  of  Rodzianko,  but  was  released  later,  only  to 
meet  death  by  the  bullets  of  the  Bolsheviki.  That 
Protopopoff  was  on  friendly  terms  with  Rasputine  is 
true,  but  that  Rasputine  had  anything  to  do  with  his 
appointment,  or  with  his  retention  In  office  after  the 
attack  by  the  Duma,  is  simply  absurd. 

Maklakoff,  Minister  of  the  Interior  before  Proto- 
popoff, was  a  former  governor  of  Chernigoff.  The 
Emperor  met  him  in  the  course  of  a  journey  to  the 
famous  fete  of  Poltava,  a  jubilee  of  the  wars  of  Peter 
the  Great.  The  acquaintance  was  made  in  the  leisure 
of  a  boat  tr'p,  and  the  Emperor,  in  another  of  his  fits 
of  impulsiveness,  decided  that  he  had  found  an  ideal 
Minister  of  the  Interior.  Their  friendship  deepened 
with  time,  and  the  Emperor  found  great  satisfaction 
in  his  new  minister's  reports,  which  he  declared  re- 


fleeted  his  own  point  of  view.  Nothing  against  the 
administration  of  Maklakoff  was  ever  even  whispered 
until  late  in  1914,  when  Nicholai  Nicholaievitch,  as 
supreme  commander  of  the  Russian  forces  in  the  field, 
suddenly  demanded  his  demission.  Grand  Duke 
Nicholas,  It  must  be  said,  continually  Interfered  with 
the  affairs  of  the  interior  government,  with  which  as 
military  chief  he  had  nothing  whatever  to  do,  but  In 
the  early  days  of  the  War  the  Emperor  seemed  to 
think  it  the  part  of  wisdom  to  suffer  this  irregularity. 
Reluctantly  he  yielded  to  the  request  for  Maklakoff's 
demission,  saying  to  him  with  genuine  regret:  "They 
demand  it,  and  at  such  a  time  I  cannot  stand  against 

In  the  place  of  Maklakoff  was  named  Tcherbatkofif, 
a  friend  and  protege  of  Nicholai  Nicholaievitch,  a  man 
whose  former  office  had  been  head  of  the  remount  de- 
partment of  the  State.  Doubtless  he  knew  a  great 
deal  about  horses,  but  of  the  interior  affairs  of  State 
he  knew  so  little  that  even  the  influence  of  Grand  Duke 
Nicholas  was  powerless  to  retain  him  in  office  longer 
than  two  months. 

Tcherbatkoff  was  followed  by  Khvostoff  who,  pre- 
vious to  his  appointment,  was  an  entire  stranger  to 
Rasputlne.  Khvostoff  had  made  a  record  as  governor 
of  Nizjni  Novgorod,  and  afterwards  as  a  vigorous 
anti-German  orator  In  the  Duma.  He  was  also  sup- 
posed to  be  a  devoted  friend  of  the  Imp-rial  Family. 
Soon  after  his  appointment  Khvostoff  began  sedulously 
to  cultivate  the  friendship  of  Rasputlne,  and  it  Is  a  mat- 
ter of  police  record  that  this  Minister  of  the  Interior 
frequently  played  on  Rasputine's  unfortunate  weakness 


for  drink.  Possibly  he  thought  that  by  getting  the 
poor  man  intoxicated  he  could  worm  from  him  the 
many  Court  secrets  he  was  supposed  to  possess.  Fail- 
ing in  this  Khvostoff  began,  with  the  help  of  Chief  of 
Police  Belezky,  a  plot  against  Rasputine  which  nearly 
succeeded  in  the  latter's  assassination.  This  being  dis- 
covered the  demission  of  Khvostoff  became  imperative. 
Soukhomlinoff,  who  when  I  knew  him  was  an  old 
man  of  seventy-five,  was  a  former  military  governor  of 
Kiev,  and  before  his  appointment  as  Minister  of  War, 
had  been  a  great  favorite  of  the  Emperor.  That  he 
showed  brilliant  ability  in  the  mobilization  of  the  Rus- 
sian Army  in  19 14  was  admitted  by  the  Allied  Govern- 
ments, and  in  fact  no  intrigue  against  him  developed 
until  some  time  after  the  beginning  of  the  War.  His 
principal  enemies  were  Grand  Duke  Nicholas,  General 
Polivanoff,  and  the  notorious  Goutchkoff.  In  my 
opinion  their  propaganda  against  him  was  instigated 
solely  with  the  object  of  impairing  the  prestige  of  the 
Emperor.  The  crimes  laid  at  the  door  of  Soukhom- 
linoff were  almost  countless.  He  was  accused  of  with- 
holding ammunition  from  the  armies,  of  harboring 
German  spies  in  his  house,  and  in  general  of  being 
completely  incapable  of  performing  his  duties  of  office. 
Of  him  the  English  historian  Wilton  says  that  time 
alone  will  prove  whether  the  odium  of  the  Russian 
war  scandals  rested  on  Soukhomlinoff  or  on  Grand 
Duke  Nicholas.  At  all  events  it  was  poor  old  Souk- 
homlinoff who  was  arrested,  tried  before  a  tribunal  of 
the  Provisional  Government,  and  sentenced  to  life  im- 
prisonment. His  young  wife,  who  was  arrested  with 
him,  occupied  a  cell  next  to  mine  in  the  Fortress  of 


Peter  and  Paul,  and  without  regard  to  the  charges 
brought  against  her,  I  had  reason  constantly  to  admire 
the  courage  and  self-possession  with  which  she  bore  the 
hardships  of  prison  life.  So  great  was  her  dignity  and 
self-command  that  she  became  universally  respected  by 
the  soldiers,  and  I  am  confident  that  this  alone  saved  us 
both  from  far  worse  indignities  than  those  which  we 
were  called  upon  to  bear.  In  prison  Mme.  Soukhom- 
linoff  managed  to  keep  herself  constantly  occupied. 
She  wrote  and  read  whenever  writing  materials  and 
books  were  procurable,  and  her  clever  fingers  fashioned 
out  of  scraps  of  the  miserable  prison  bread  really 
beautiful  sprays  of  flowers.  For  coloring  matter  she 
used  the  paint  from  a  moldering  blue  stripe  on  the 
walls  of  her  cell,  and  scraps  of  red  paper  in  which  tea 
was  wrapped.  After  months  of  imprisonment,  bravely 
endured,  Mme.  Soukhomlinoff  was  brought  to  trial  be- 
fore a  court  of  the  Provisional  Government.  Her 
examination  was  of  the  most  searching  character,  but 
at  its  close  she  left  the  courtroom  fully  acquitted,  to 
the  applause  of  the  numerous  spectators.  Taking  ad- 
vantage of  an  amnesty  pronounced  some  time  later 
Mme.  Soukhomlinoff  got  her  aged  husband  released 
from  prison  and  saw  him  safely  to  Finland.  It  is. 
rather  an  anticlimax  to  the  story  that  after  so  many 
trials  borne  together  the  marriage  of  the  Soukhom- 
linoffs  was  dissolved,  Mme.  Soukhomlinoff  marrying  a 
young  Georgian  ofiicer  with  whom  she  later  perished 
under  the  Bolshevist  terror. 

One  more  person  of  whom  I  can  speak  with  knowl- 
edge was,  although  not  a  minister,  falsely  alleged  to  be 
an   appointee   of   Rasputine.     This  was   the   Metro- 


politan  Pitirim,  a  man  of  impeccable  honesty  and  very 
liberal  views  regarding  Church  administration.  The 
Emperor  met  him  in  late  19 14  on  one  of  his  visits  to 
the  Caucasus,  Pitirim  then  being  Exarch  of  Georgia. 
Not  only  the  Emperor  but  his  entire  suite  were  en- 
chanted by  the  charming  manners,  the  piety,  and  learn- 
ing of  the  Exarch,  and  when,  a  little  later,  the  Empress 
met  the  Emperor  at  Veronesh,  he  told  her  that  he  had 
Pitirim  in  mind  for  Metropolitan  of  Petrograd.  Al- 
most immediately  after  his  appointment  the  propa- 
gandists began  to  connect  his  elevation  with  the 
Rasputine  influence,  but  the  truth  is  that  the  two  men 
were  never  at  any  time  on  terms  of  more  than  formal 
acquaintanceship.  As  for  their  Majesties,  they  liked 
and  respected  Pitirim  but  he  never  was  an  intimate 
member  of  their  household.  Practically  all  their  con- 
versations which  I  overheard  concerned  the  state  of 
the  Church  in  Georgia,  which  Pitirim  insisted  was 
lower  than  in  other  parts  of  the  Empire.  The  Church 
of  Georgia,  Pitirim  alleged,  received  too  little  support 
from  the  State,  although  it  deserved  as  much  if  not 
more  than  others,  because  Georgian  Christianity  is 
the  oldest  in  all  Russia.  According  to  tradition  this 
Church  was  established  by  the  Holy  Virgin  herself 
who,  after  a  shipwreck  off  Mount  Athos,  visited 
Georgia,  converted  its  chiefs  and  established  the  first 
Christian  temple.  Pitirim  was  essentially  a  church- 
man, yet  he  always  advocated  a  certain  separation  of 
Church  and  State.  That  is,  he  desired  the  establish- 
ment of  a  parish  system  whereby  the  support  of  the 
Church  should  be  the  responsibility  of  the  people 
rather  than  of  the  Imperial  Government.     Unworldly 


to  the  last  degree,  he  nevertheless  came  in  for  his  full 
share  of  slander  and  abuse.  After  my  arrest  by  the 
Provisional  Government  my  mother  visited  Kerensky 
in  my  behalf,  and  was  astounded  when  he  brutally  told 
her  that  one  of  the  charges  against  me  was  that  all  my 
diamonds  were  gifts  from  Pitirim,  the  inference  be- 
ing that  we  were  on  unduly  intimate  terms. 

Another  high  personage  to  whom  I  wish  to  pay  the 
tribute  of  just  appreciation  is  Count  Fredericks,  chief 
minister  of  the  Court.  This  honorable  gentleman  had 
spent  almost  his  entire  life  in  the  service  of  the  Im- 
perial Family,  having  first  been  attached  to  the  person 
of  Alexander  III.  Nicholas  II  and  his  family  he  served 
with  ability,  discretion,  and  rare  devotion.  In  virtue 
of  his  office  he  had  to  deal  personally  with  the  affairs 
of  the  Grand  Dukes,  their  complicated  financial  trans- 
actions, their  morganatic  marriages,  and  other  con- 
fidential affairs.  Everyone,  except  those  of  the  Grand 
Dukes  who  with  reason  had  earned  his  contempt,  loved 
this  charming  man  whom  their  Majesties  usually  spoke 
of  as  "our  old  man."  Count  Fredericks,  in  his  turn, 
always  called  them  "mes  enfants."  His  house  was  to 
me  for  many  years  a  second  home,  his  daughters,  the 
elder  Mme.  Voyeikoff,  and  the  younger  one,  Emma, 
being  among  my  dearest  friends.  Emma,  who  suffered 
a  painful  curvature  of  the  spine,  had  the  compensa- 
tion of  a  rarely  beautiful  singing  voice  with  which  she 
often  charmed  the  Emperor  and  Empress.  Count 
Fredericks  was  arrested  by  the  Provisional  Govern- 
ment, but  owing  to  his  great  age,  was  afterwards 

The  charge  has  often  been  brought  against  Nicholas 


II  that  he  surrounded  himself  with  inferior  men.  The 
fact  of  the  case  is  that  in  the  beginning  of  his  reign  he 
chose  as  his  chief  advisers  men  of  ability  and  integrity 
who  had  been  friends  of  his  father,  Alexander  III. 
Later  he  chose  men  who  in  his  opinion  were  the  best 
ones  available,  and  it  must  be  admitted  that  there 
were  few  men  of  first-class  ability  among  whom  he 
could  choose.  The  events  of  the  War  and  the  Revolu- 
tion prove  this,  for  neither  of  these  two  terrible  emer- 
gencies produced  in  Russia  a  single  man  of  conspicuous 
merit.  Not  one  real  leader  appeared  then  nor  in  the 
years  which  have  since  elapsed.  Truly  has  a  dis- 
tinguished American  writer  pointed  out  that  never 
could  Bolshevism  and  its  insane  philosophy  have  taken 
such  strong  roots  in  Russia,  had  not  the  soil  been  pre- 
viously so  well  prepared.  Every  Russian  who  really 
loved  his  country  must  admit  the  truth  of  this  state- 
ment. Too  many  exiled  Russians,  however,  still  cling 
to  the  delusion  that  some  outside  influence  was  the 
cause  of  their  country's  downfall.  Let  them  acknowl- 
edge the  truth  that  it  was  Russians  themselves,  es- 
pecially Russians  of  the  privileged  classes,  who  prin- 
cipally are  responsible  for  the  catastrophe.  For  years 
before  the  Revolution  the  national  spirit  was  in  a  state 
of  decline.  Few  men  or  women  cherished  ideals  of 
duty  for  duty's  sake.  Patriotism  was  practically  ex- 
tinct. Family  life  was  weakened,  and  in  the  last  days, 
the  morale  of  the  whole  people  was  lower  than  in 
almost  any  other  country  of  the  civilized  world. 

May  the  blood  of  the  thousands  of  innocents  who 
have  perished  in  War  and  Revolution  wipe  out  the 
sins    of   the   old   hard-hearted   and   decadent   Russia. 


May  the  millions  still  living,  in  exile  and  under  Com- 
munist oppression,  learn  that  only  by  repentance  and 
by  toleration  of  others'  weaknesses  can  there  be  any 
possibility  of  a  restoration  of  national  life.  Not  by 
any  outside  help  but  by  our  own  efforts,  by  loyal  Rus- 
sians coming  together,  not  as  political  groups  but  as 
compatriots,  can  great  Russia  rise  again  out  of  her 
shame  and  desolation  and  become  once  more  a  nation 
among  the  nations  of  the  earth. 


FOR  two  months  after  the  assassination  of 
Rasputine  the  Emperor  remained  at  Tsarskoe 
Selo,  but  he  was  by  no  means  idle.  In  fact  his  whole 
heart  and  mind  were  occupied,  not  so  much  with  the 
scandal  that  had  reached  its  tragic  climax  in  the 
Yusupoff  Palace,  but  with  the  War  which  at  that 
moment  seemed  to  favor  Russian  arms.  According 
to  our  advices  the  food  shortage  in  Germany  and  in 
Turkey  had  become  acute,  and  the  Emperor  believed 
that  a  vigorous  spring  offensive  might  bring  the  War 
to  a  speedy  close.  In  his  billiard  room  were  spread 
out  a  large  number  of  military  maps  which  no  one  of 
the  household,  not  even  the  Empress,  was  invited  to  in- 
spect. The  Emperor  spent  hours  over  these  maps  and 
his  plan  of  a  spring  campaign,  and  when  he  left  the 
billiard  room  he  locked  the  door  and  put  the  key  in 
his  pocket,  I  had  never  seen  him  more  completely  the 
soldier,  the  commander  in  chief  of  a  great  army.  All 
this  time,  from  December,  1916,  to  February,  1917, 
the  Russian  front  was  comparatively  quiet,  furious 
snowstorms  preventing  the  advance  either  of  our  own 
or  the  enemy's  forces.  Alas!  The  storms  interfered 
also  with  railroad  transport  and  Petrograd  and  Mos- 
cow were  beginning  to  feel  the  pinch  of  hunger,  a 
fact  that  gave  their  Majesties  constant  concern. 

Meanwhile   the  Grand  Duke  Alexander  Michailo- 



vitch  persisted  in  his  demand  for  an  interview  with 
the  Empress,  and  as  his  letters  to  her  failed  of  their 
object  he  began  to  write  to  the  Grand  Duchess  Olga. 
The  Empress,  whose  courage  was  great  enough  to 
enable  her  to  ignore  any  possible  danger  to  herself, 
decided  to  see  the  man  and  once  for  all  let  him  have 
his  say.  In  this  decision  the  Emperor  concurred,  but 
he  stipulated  that  he  should  be  present  in  case  the  con- 
versation should  become  unduly  disagreeable.  The 
Emperor's  aide-de-camp  for  the  day  happened  to  be  a 
spirited  young  officer.  Lieutenant  Linevitch,  who  after 
luncheon  on  the  day  set  for  the  audience,  lingered  in 
the  palace,  apparently  occupied  in  an  amusing  puzzle 
game  with  Tatiana.  Afterwards  Linevitch  told  me 
that  so  well  did  he  know  the  extent  ©f  the  Grand  Ducal 
cabal,  and  especially  the  character  of  Alexander 
Michailovitch,  that  he  had  remained  on  purpose  and 
that  his  sword  had  been  ready  at  any  moment  to 
rescue  the  Empress  from  insult  or  from  attempted  as- 
sassination. As  we  expected  the  Grand  Duke  had 
nothing  new  to  say  to  the  Empress,  but  merely  reiter- 
ated in  more  than  usually  violent  terms  the  demand  for 
Protopopoff's  dismissal  and  for  a  constitutional  form 
of  government.  The  answer  to  these  demands  was  as 
usual — everything  necessary  after  the  War,  no  funda- 
mentally dangerous  changes  while  the  Germans  re- 
mained on  our  soil.  The  Grand  Duke,  purple  with 
anger,  rushed  out  of  the  Empress's  sitting  room,  but 
instead  of  leaving  the  palace,  as  he  was  expected  to  do, 
he  entered  the  library,  ordered  pens  and  paper  and 
began  to  write  a  letter  to  the  Emperor's  brother, 
Michail  Alexandrovitch.     No  sooner  had  he  begun  his 


epistle  than  he  perceived  standing  respectfully  in  the 
room  the  aide-de-camp  Linevitch,  whom,  after  a  more 
or  less  civil  greeting,  he  tried  to  dismiss.  "You  may 
go  now,"  he  said,  coldly  polite,  but  the  astute  Linevitch 
replied  with  ceremony:  "No,  your  Highness,  I  am  on 
service  today  and  as  long  as  your  Highness  is  here  it 
is  not  permitted  for  me  to  leave."  In  a  fury  Alexander 
Michailovitch  got  up  and  left  the  palace. 

Men  like  Linevitch  and  many  others,  as  faithful  as 
ever  to  their  Majesties,  saw  the  threatening  tempest 
more  clearly  than  those  within  palace  walls  could 
possibly  see  it.  The  day  after  the  visit  of  Alexander 
Michailovitch  I  received  a  call  from  one  of  the  finest 
of  the  Romanoff  connections,  Duke  Alexander  of 
Luchtenberg.  Painfully  agitated,  the  Duke  told  me 
that  he  wanted  me  to  help  him  to  induce  the  Emperor 
to  take  a  remarkable,  indeed  an  unprecedented  step. 
At  the  time  of  his  accession  to  the  throne  every  member 
of  the  family,  It  is  well  known,  must  make  a  solemn 
vow  of  fealty  to  the  Tsar,  and  the  Duke  of  Luchten- 
berg now  begged  me  to  persuade  the  Emperor,  through 
the  Empress,  to  exact  from  all  the  family  a  renewal  of 
this  vow.  For  the  lives  and  safety  of  the  Imperial 
Family  the  Duke  believed  this  to  be  absolutely  es- 
sential. "None  of  them  are  loyal,  not  one,"  he  said 
earnestly.  "And  if  the  Emperor  values  the  lives  of 
his  wife  and  children  he  must  force  the  Grand  Dukes 
and  their  families  to  declare  themselves."  Quite 
staggered,  I  replied  that  it  was  impossible  for  me  to 
make  such  a  proposition  to  their  Majesties,  but  I 
added  that  the  Duke  himself,  as  a  member  of  the 
family,  might  with  entire  propriety  do  so,  and  thus 


the  matter  was  decided.  Of  the  details  of  the  conver- 
sation between  the  Emperor  and  his  kinsman  I  know 
nothing,  but  I  know  that  the  conversation  took  place, 
because  later  the  Emperor  remarked  in  my  hearing 
that  "Sandro"  Luchtenberg,  in  the  kindness  of  his 
heart,  had  made  a  great  matter  out  of  a  trifle,  and  he 
added,  "Of  course  I  could  not  ask  of  my  own  family 
the  thing  he  suggested." 

As  one  more  indication  of  the  gathering  storm  there 
came  to  me  at  my  hospital  from  Saratoff  an  old  man 
so  feeble  and  so  deaf  that  he  had  to  bring  with  him  a 
woman  relative  who  through  long  familiarity  was  able 
to  act  as  an  interpreter  in  his  conversations.  This  old 
man  represented  an  organization  known  as  the  Union 
of  the  Russian  People,  a  large  group  devoted  to  the 
Empire  and  to  the  persons  of  their  Majesties.  With 
intense  emotion  he  told  me  that  his  organization  had 
incontestable  proofs  of  most  treacherous  propaganda 
which  was  being  circulated  by  the  Union  of  Zemstvos 
and  Towns,  under  the  personal  direction  of  Goutchkoff 
and  Rodzianko.  He  had  brought  with  him  docu- 
mentary proofs  of  his  assertions  and  he  implored  me 
to  help  him  lay  his  proofs  before  the  Emperor.  I  com- 
municated his  message  to  the  Emperor,  but  as  he  was 
that  day  importantly  engaged  he  suggested  that  the 
Empress  might  receive  him  instead.  This  she  con- 
sented to  do,  but  after  an  hour's  conversation  she  sent 
the  old  man  away,  touched  by  his  devotion  but  uncon- 
vinced of  the  gravity  of  the  situation  as  he  presented  it. 

To  relieve  somewhat  the  dullness  and  gloom  that 
had  settled  on  the  palace  we  organized  in  those  early 
winter  days  of  19 17  a  series  of  chamber-music  recitals. 


the  performers  being  Rumanian  musicians  who  had 
been  playing  very  beautifully  in  the  convalescent  wards 
of  the  Tsarskoe  Selo  hospitals.  At  the  request  of 
the  Empress  I  arranged  for  performances  in  my  own 
apartments  in  the  palace,  inviting,  with  their  Majesties' 
approval,  the  Duke  of  Luchtenberg,  Mme.  Dehn, 
Count  Fredericks,  his  daughters,  my  sister  and  her 
husband,  and  a  few  other  intimate  friends.  The  con- 
certs were  delightful,  greatly  cheering  us  all,  includ- 
ing the  somewhat  lonely  young  Grand  Duchesses  and 
the  much  harassed  Emperor,  But  something  in  the 
music,  perhaps  its  wild  and  mournful  tzigane  numbers, 
moved  the  Empress  to  the  depths  of  her  sensitive  soul. 
Her  beautiful  eyes  became  more  than  ever  filled  with 
melancholy  and  her  heart  seemed  heavy  with  pre- 
monitions of  disaster. 

Partly  because  of  her  increased  melancholy  and 
partly  moved  by  just  anger  against  the  propagandist 
press  in  which  our  innocent  concerts  were  described  as 
"palace  orgies,"  the  Emperor  for  the  first  time  was 
awakened  to  consciousness  that  the  safety  of  his  family 
was  indeed  threatened.  At  least  he  became  aware 
of  the  fact  that  despite  the  dangerous  unrest  of  the 
times,  Tsarskoe  Selo  and  even  Petrograd  remained 
practically  ungarrisoned.  The  capital  was  guarded 
by  only  a  few  regiments  of  reserves,  while  Tsarskoe 
Selo,  the  residence  of  the  Imperial  Family,  had  no  regi- 
ments at  all  outside  its  peace-time  quota  of  soldier  and 
Cossack  guards.  At  the  command  of  the  Emperor 
several  additional  regiments  which  had  served  for 
some  time  at  the  front  were  ordered  to  Tsarskoe  for 
rest  and  recuperation,   and,  although  naturally  noth- 


ing  of  this  was  mentioned  in  the  order,  to  augment  if 
necessary  the  inadequate  military  force  at  hand.  The 
first  order  was  given  for  a  strong  detachment  of  naval 
guards,  but  after  these  men  were  actually  entrained 
for  Tsarskoe  they  were  stopped  by  a  counter  order 
from  General  Gourko,  who  in  the  illness  of  General 
Alexieff  was  in  command  at  G.  H.  Q.  This  counter 
order  being  at  once  communicated  to  the  Emperor,  he 
exercised  his  supreme  authority  and  the  regiment  once 
more  started  for  Tsarskoe  Selo.  But  the  audacity  of 
General  Gourko  had  not  yet  reached  its  limit.  When 
the  military  train  reached  the  station  at  Tsarskoe  it 
was  met  by  a  telegram  from  General  Gourko  to  the 
officer  in  command,  ordering  the  regiment  back  to  the 
front.  The  bewildered  officer  for  a  few  moments  was 
at  a  loss  what  to  do,  but  fortunately  news  of  his 
dilemma  was  telephoned  to  the  palace,  and  the  regi- 
ment, under  the  peremptory  command  of  the  Emperor, 
left  the  train  and  went  into  garrison  at  Tsarskoe.  The 
Emperor  next  commanded  that  one  of  his  favorite 
regiments  of  Varsovie  Lancers  be  sent  to  Tsarskoe, 
but  instead  General  Gourko  left  headquarters  for  the 
palace,  where  a  long  interview  between  the  Emperor 
and  the  commander  took  place.  By  arguments  of 
which  I  have  no  knowledge  the  Emperor  was  per- 
suaded that  the  Lancers  could  not,  for  the  time  being, 
be  spared  from  their  front-line  position,  and  he  re- 
called his  order. 

However,  it  was  clear  that  the  Emperor  was  at  last 
awake  to  the  appalling  menace  of  disaffection  which 
was  closing  in  like  black  cloud  banks  on  every  hand. 
The  War  was  going  badly,  as  every  student  of  the 


times  must  remember.  Bruslloff's  brilliant  offensive  of 
the  summer  and  autumn  of  191 6  had  indeed  made  it 
plain  that  Russia  was  by  no  means  out  of  the  struggle, 
but  although  this  famous  drive  had  netted  the  Russians 
a  gain  of  territory  even  larger  than  that  which  was 
yielded  in  the  great  Battle  of  the  Somme,  it  had  finally 
stopped  leaving  us  with  much  lost  territory  still  unre- 
deemed. The  Emperor  knew  this  and  it  tormented 
his  heart  and  soul.  The  intriguers  knew  it  and  re- 
solved to  use  it  as  a  weapon  to  get  the  Tsar  away  from 
his  capital  and  from  his  family.  It  was  on  the  19th 
or  20th  of  February  (Russian  Calendar)  that  the  Em- 
peror's brother,  Grand  Duke  Michail  Alexandrovitch, 
visited  the  palace  and  told  the  Emperor  that  it  was  his 
immediate  duty  to  return  to  the  Stavka  because  of 
grave  threats  of  mutiny  in  the  army.  Very  reluctantly 
the  Emperor  consented  to  go.  Mutiny  in  the  army 
was  a  serious  enough  matter  and  demanded  the  pres- 
ence of  the  commander  in  chief.  But  other  things 
were  at  the  same  time  occurring  to  cause  keen  anxiety. 
The  Empress  had  acquainted  me  with  the  nature  of 
these  disquieting  events,  but  because  of  the  interna- 
tional character  of  the  most  serious  I  dislike  even  now 
to  put  them  in  writing.  However,  I  am  here  repeating 
only  what  was  then  told  me  and  I  have  no  firsthand 
information  to  offer  in  verification  of  their  truth. 
Their  Majesties  had  been  informed  and  finally  from  a 
source  which  they  believed  to  be  absolutely  reliable, 
that  the  center  of  intrigue  against  the  throne  was  not 
in  any  secret  garret  of  disaffected  workingmen  but  in 
the  British  Embassy,  where  the  Ambassador,  Sir 
George  Buchanan,  was  personally  aiding  the  Grand 


Dukes  to  overthrow  Nicholas  II  and  to  replace  him 
by  his  cousin  Grand  Duke  Cyril  Vladimirovitch.  Sir 
George  Buchanan's  main  purpose,  it  was  said,  was  not 
so  much  to  further  the  ambitions  of  the  Grand  Dukes 
as  it  was  to  weaken  Russia  as  a  factor  in  the  future 
peace  conference.  Unable  fully  to  believe  that  an  am- 
bassador of  one  of  the  Allied  Powers  would  dare  to 
meddle  maliciously  in  the  internal  affairs  of  the  Em- 
pire, the  Tsar  had  nevertheless  decided  to  communi- 
cate his  information  in  a  personal  letter  to  his  cousin 
King  George  of  England.  The  Empress,  deeply  in- 
dignant, advised  a  demand  on  King  George  for  the 
Ambassador's  recall,  but  the  Emperor  replied  that  he 
dared  not,  at  such  a  critical  time,  make  public  his  dis- 
trust of  an  Ally's  representative.  Whether  or  not  the 
Emperor  ever  wrote  his  letter  to  King  George  I  never 
knew,  but  that  his  anxiety  and  depression  of  spirits 
persisted  I  can  well  testify.  On  the  evening  of  Feb- 
ruary 29,  the  day  before  the  Emperor's  departure,  I 
gave  a  small  dinner  to  some  intimate  friends  among 
the  officers  of  the  Naval  Guard,  Mme.  Dehn  helping 
me  in  my  duties  as  hostess.  A  note  from  the  Empress 
summoned  us  all  to  spend  the  end  of  the  evening  in 
her  sitting  room,  and  as  soon  as  I  saw  the  Emperor  I 
knew  that  he  was  seriously  upset.  During  the  tea  hour 
he  spoke  little,  and  when  I  tried  to  catch  his  eye  he 
turned  his  head  aside.  The  Empress  murmured  in  my 
ear  that  all  his  instincts  warned  him  against  leaving 
Tsarskoe  Selo  at  that  time,  and  as  this  coincided  ex- 
actly with  my  own  judgment  I  ventured  to  tell  him,  on 
saying  good  night,  that  I  should  hope  to  the  last  mo- 
ment that  he  would  not  go  away  until  the  worst  of  the 


uncertainties  in  Petrograd  were  removed.  At  this  he 
smiled,  almost  cheerfully,  and  said  that  I  must  not 
allow  myself  to  be  frightened  by  wild  rumors  and  idle 
gossip.  Go  he  must,  but  within  ten  days  he  expected 
to  be  able  to  return. 

The  next  morning  I  went  to  the  door  and  watched 
his  motor  car  drive  out  of  the  palace  grounds,  the 
Empress  and  the  children  going  with  it  as  far  as  the 
station.  As  usual  on  such  occasions,  there  was  a  dis- 
play of  flags,  of  guards  standing  at  salute,  and  bells 
from  the  churches  pealing  their  farewell.  Everything 
appeared  the  same,  yet  in  that  hour  the  flags,  the 
soldiers,  the  pealing  bells  were  speeding  the  Tsar  of 
all  the  Russias  to  his  doom. 

I  felt  ill  that  morning,  ill  physically  as  well  as  men- 
tally, yet  as  in  duty  bound  I  went  to  my  hospital,  where 
a  soldier  in  whose  case  I  took  a  special  interest  was 
to  undergo  an  operation  which  he  dreaded  and  at 
which  he  had  implored  me  to  be  present.  While  the 
anesthetic  was  being  administered  I  stood  beside  the 
poor  man  holding  his  hand,  but  at  the  same  time  I 
realized  that  I  was  becoming  feverish  and  that  my 
headache  was  almost  unbearably  increasing.  Return- 
ing to  the  palace,  I  lay  down  in  my  bedroom,  after 
writing  a  line  to  the  Empress  excusing  myself  from 
tea.  An  hour  later  Tatiana  came  in,  sympathetic  as 
usual,  but  troubled  because  both  Olga  and  Alexei  were 
in  bed  with  high  temperatures  and  the  doctors  sus- 
pected that  they  might  be  coming  down  with  measles. 
A  week  or  two  before  some  small  cadets  from  the  mil- 
itary school  had  spent  the  afternoon  playing  with 
Alexei,  and  one  of  these  boys  had  a  cough  and  such  a 


flushed  face  that  the  Empress  had  called  the  attention 
of  M.  Gilliard  to  the  child,  fearing  illness.  The  next 
day  we  heard  that  he  was  ill  with  measles,  but  because 
our  minds  were  so  troubled  with  many  other  things 
none  of  us  thought  much  of  the  danger  of  contagion. 
As  for  me,  even  after  Tatiana  had  told  me  that  Olga 
and  Alexei  were  suspected  cases,  it  did  not  at  once 
occur  to  me  that  I  was  going  to  be  ill.  Still  my  tem- 
perature went  on  rising  and  my  headache  was  unre- 
lieved. I  lay  in  bed  all  the  next  day  until  the  dinner 
hour  when  Mme.  Dehn  came  in  and  I  made  a  futile 
effort  to  get  up  and  dress.  Mme.  Dehn  made  me  lie 
down  again,  and  looking  me  over  carefully  she  said: 
"You  look  very  badly  to  me.  I  think  you  will  have  to 
have  the  doctor."  The  next  Instant,  so  it  seemed  to 
me,  the  doctor  was  in  the  room  and  I  heard  him  say : 
"Measles.  A  bad  case."  Then  I  drifted  off  into  sleep 
or  unconsciousness. 

That  same  day  Tatiana  fell  ill,  and  now  the  Em- 
press had  four  of  us  on  her  hands.  Putting  on  her 
nurse's  uniform,  she  spent  all  the  succeeding  days  be- 
tween her  children's  rooms  and  mine.  Half  conscious, 
I  felt  gratefully  her  capable  hands  arranging  my 
pillows,  smoothing  my  burning  forehead,  and  holding 
to  my  lips  medicines  and  cooling  drinks.  Already,  as 
I  heard  vaguely,  Marie  and  Anastasie  had  begun  to 
cough,  but  this  news  disturbed  me  only  as  a  passing 
dream.  I  was  conscious  of  the  presence  of  my  mother 
and  father  and  of  my  younger  sister,  and  still  as  in  a 
kind  of  nightmare  I  understood  that  they  and  the  Em- 
press spoke  in  hurried  whispers  of  riots  and  disorders 
in  Petrograd.     But  of  the  first  days  of  Revolution,  the 


strikes  in  Petrograd  and  Moscow,  the  revolt  of  the 
mobs  and  the  hesitancy  of  the  half-disciplined  reserves 
to  restore  order,  I  know  nothing  except  what  was  after- 
wards related  to  me.  I  do  know,  however,  that 
through  it  all  the  Empress  of  Russia  was  completely 
calm  and  courageous,  and  that  when  my  sister,  hurry- 
ing to  the  palace  after  witnessing  the  wild  scenes  in 
Petrograd,  had  cried  out  to  the  Empress  that  the  end 
had  come,  her  fears  were  quieted  by  brave  and  reassur- 
ing words. 

It  was  the  devoted  old  Grand  Duke  Paul,  as  the 
Empress  afterwards  told  me,  who  brought  her  the 
first  official  tidings,  and  made  her  understand  that  that 
most  calamitous  of  all  blunders,  a  political  revolution 
in  the  midst  of  world  war,  had  been  accomplished. 
Even  then  she  lost  none  of  her  marvelous  courage. 
She  did  not  call  upon  the  Ministers  or  upon  the  Allied 
Ambassadors  to  protect  her  and  her  children.  With 
dignity,  unmoved  she  witnessed  day  by  day  the 
cowardly  desertion  of  men  who  for  years  had  lived  at 
Court  and  who  had  enjoyed  the  faith  and  friendship 
of  the  Imperial  Family.  One  by  one  they  went,  Gen- 
eral Racine,  Count  Apraxine,  officers  and  men  of  the 
bodyguard,  servants  the  oldest  and  the  most  trusted, 
all  with  smooth  excuses  and  apologies  which  translated 
meant  only  sauve  qui  pent. 

One  night  came  the  noise  of  rioting  and  the  sharp 
staccato  of  machine  guns  apparently  approaching 
nearer  and  nearer  the  palace.  It  was  about  eleven 
o'clock  and  the  Empress  was  sitting  for  a  few  minutes' 
rest  on  the  edge  of  my  bed.  Getting  up  hastily  and 
wrapping   herself    in    a    white    shawl,    she    beckoned 


Marie,  the  last  of  the  children  on  her  feet,  and  went 
out  of  the  palace  into  the  icy  air  to  face  whatever 
threatened.  The  Naval  Guard  and  the  Konvoi  Cos- 
sacks still  remained  on  duty,  although  even  then  they 
were  preparing  to  desert.  It  is  altogether  possible 
that  they  would  have  gone  over  to  the  rioters  that 
night  had  it  not  been  for  the  unexpected  appearance 
of  the  Empress  and  her  daughter.  From  one  guard 
to  another  they  passed,  the  stately  woman  and  the 
courageous  young  girl,  undaunted  both  in  the  face 
of  deadly  danger,  speaking  words  of  encouragement, 
and  most  of  all  of  simple  faith  and  confidence.  This 
alone  held  the  men  at  their  posts  during  that  dreadful 
night  and  prevented  the  rioters  from  attacking  the 
palace.  The  next  day  the  guards  disappeared.  The 
Naval  Guards,  led  by  Grand  Duke  Cyril  Vladimiro- 
vitch,^  marched  with  red  flags  to  the  Duma  and  pre- 
sented themselves  to  Rodzianko  as  joyful  revolu- 
tionists. The  very  men  who  in  the  previous  midnight 
had  hailed  the  Empress  with  the  traditional  greeting, 
"Zdravie  Jelaini  Vashie  Imperatorskoe  Velichestvo!" 
Health  and  long  life  to  your  Majesty!  So  loud  had 
been  their  greeting  that  the  Empress,  not  wishing  me 
to  know  that  she  had  left  the  palace,  sent  a  servant  to 
tell  me  that  the  Guards  were  waiting  to  meet  the 

There  was  now  in  or  about  the  palace  practically 
no  one  to  defend  the  Imperial  Family  in  case  the  mob 
decided  to  attack.  Still  the  Empress  remained  calm, 
saying  only  that  she  hoped  no  blood  would  have  to  be 

'This  is  the  same  Cyril  Vladimirovitch  who  has  recently  proclaimed 
himself  "Head  of  the  Romanoff  Family  and  Guardian  of  the  Throne." 


shed  in  their  defense.  A  telegram  from  the  Emperor 
revealed  that  the  crisis  had  become  known  to  him,  for 
he  implored  the  Empress  to  join  him  with  the  children 
at  headquarters.  At  the  same  hour  came  an  astound- 
ing message  to  the  Empress  from  Rodzianko,  now  head 
of  the  Provisional  Government,  notifying  her  that  she 
and  her  whole  family  must  vacate  the  palace  at  once. 
Her  answer  to  both  messages  was  that  she  could  not 
leave  because  all  five  of  the  children  were  dangerously 
ill.  Rodzianko's  reply  to  this  appeal  of  an  anguished 
mother  was:  "When  the  house  is  on  fire  it  is  time  for 
everything  to  be  thrown  out."  Desperately  the  Em- 
press consulted  doctors  and  nurses.  Could  the  children 
possibly  be  moved?  Could  Anna?  What  was  to  be 
done  in  case  the  Provisional  Government  proved  al- 
together pitiless? 

Into  this  soul-racking  dilemma  of  the  mother  came 
to  the  wife  of  the  Emperor  the  terrible  news  of  his 
abdication.  I  could  not  be  with  her  in  that  hour  of 
woe,  nor  did  I  even  see  her  until  the  following  morn- 
ing. It  was  my  parents  who  broke  the  news  to  me, 
almost  too  ill  and  too  cloudy  of  mind  to  comprehend 
it.  Mme.  Dehn,  who  was  with  the  Empress  on  the 
evening  when  Grand  Duke  Paul  arrived  with  the  fatal 
tidings,  has  described  the  scene  when  the  broken- 
hearted Empress  left  the  Grand  Duke  and  returned  to 
her  own  room. 

"Her  face  was  distorted  with  agony,  her  eyes  were  full  of 
tears.  She  tottered  rather  than  walked,  and  I  rushed  forward 
and  supported  her  until  she  reached  the  writing  table  between 
the  windows.  She  leaned  heavily  against  it,  and  taking  my 
hands  in  hers  she  said  brokenly:  'Abdique!' 


"I  could  hardly  believe  my  ears.  I  waited  for  her  next 
words.  They  were  scarcely  audible.  At  last  [still  speaking 
in  French,  for  Mme.  Dehn  spoke  no  English]  'Poor  darling 
— alone  there  and  suffering — My  God!  What  he  must  have 

In  that  hour  of  supreme  agony  there  was  not  a  word 
spoken  of  the  loss  of  a  throne.  Alexandra  Feo- 
dorovna's  whole  heart  was  with  her  husband,  her  sole 
fears  that  he  might  be  in  danger  and  that  their  boy- 
might  be  taken  from  them.  At  once  she  began  to  send 
frantic  telegrams  to  the  Emperor  begging  him  to  come 
home  as  soon  as  possible.  With  the  refinement  of 
cruelty  which  marked  the  whole  conduct  of  the  Pro- 
visional Government  in  those  days  these  telegrams 
were  returned  to  the  Empress  marked  in  blue  pencil: 
"Address  of  person  mentioned  unknown." 

Not  even  this  insolence  nor  all  her  fears  broke  the 
sublime  courage  of  the  Empress.  When  next  morning 
she  entered  my  sickroom  and  saw  by  my  tear-drenched 
face  that  I  knew  what  had  happened  her  only  visible 
emotion  was  a  slight  irritation  that  other  lips  than  her 
own  had  brought  me  the  news.  "They  should  have 
known  that  I  preferred  to  tell  you  myself,"  she  said. 
It  was  only  when  gone  her  rounds  of  the  palace  and 
was  alone  in  her  own  bedroom  that  she  finally  gave 
way  to  her  grief.  "Mama  cried  terribly,"  little  Grand 
Duchess  Marie  told  me.  "I  cried  too,  but  not  more 
than  I  could  help,  for  poor  Mama's  sake."  Never  in 
my  life,  I  am  certain,  shall  I  behold  such  proud  forti- 
tude as  was  shown  all  through  those  days  of  wreck  and 
disaster  by  the  Empress  and  her  children.  Not  one 
single  word  of  bitterness  or  resentment  passed  their 


lips.  "You  know,  Annia,"  said  the  Empress  gently, 
"all  is  finished  for  our  Russia,  But  we  must  not  blame 
the  people  or  the  soldiers  for  what  has  happened." 
Too  well  we  knew  on  whose  shoulders  the  burden  of 
responsibility  really  rested. 

By  this  time  Olga  and  Alexei  were  decidedly  better, 
but  Tatiana  and  Anastasie  were  still  very  ill  and  Marie 
was  in  the  first  serious  stage  of  the  disease.  The  Em- 
press in  her  hospital  uniform  moved  tirelessly  from 
one  bed  to  another.  Perceiving  that  from  my  floor  of 
the  palace  practically  every  servant  had  fled,  even  my 
nurses  and  my  once  devoted  Jouk  having  yielded  to  the 
general  panic,  she  found  people  to  move  my  bed  up- 
stairs to  the  old  nursery  of  the  Emperor.  We  were 
now  almost  alone  in  the  palace.  My  father's  resigna- 
tion having  been  demanded  and  of  course  given,  my 
parents  were  detained  in  Petrograd. 

Days  passed  and  still  no  word  came  from  the  Em- 
peror. The  Empress's  endurance  had  almost  reached 
its  breaking  point  when  there  came  to  the  palace  a 
young  woman,  the  wife  of  an  obscure  oflScer,  who  threw 
herself  at  the  feet  of  the  Empress  and  begged  to  be 
allowed  the  dangerous  task  of  getting  a  letter  through 
to  the  Emperor.  Gratefully  indeed  did  the  Empress 
accept  the  offer,  and  within  an  hour  the  brave  woman 
was  on  her  way  to  Mogiloff.  How  she  managed  to 
reach  headquarters,  how  she  passed  the  cordon  of 
soldiers  and  finally  succeeded  in  delivering  to  the  cap- 
tive Emperor  his  wife's  letter  we  never  knew,  but  all 
honor  to  this  heroic  woman,  she  did  it. 

The  palace  was  now  full  of  Revolutionary  soldiers, 
quite  drunk  with  their  new  liberty.    Their  heavy  boots 


tramped  through  all  the  rooms  and  corridors,  and 
groups  of  dirty,  unshaven  men  were  constantly  pushing 
their  way  into  the  nurseries  bawling  out  hoarsely: 
"Show  us  Alexei!"  For  it  was  the  heir  who  most  of 
all  aroused  the  interest  and  curiosity  of  the  mob. 
Meanwhile,  behind  closed  doors  and  anxiously  await- 
ing the  arrival  of  the  Emperor,  the  Empress  and  her 
few  faithful  friends  were  at  work  forestalling  the 
coming  of  Kerensky  by  burning  and  destroying  letters 
and  diaries,  intimate  personal  records  too  precious  to 
be  allowed  to  fall  into  the  ruthless  hands  of  enemies. 


IN  anxiety  almost  unbearable  we  waited  until  the 
morning  of  March  9  (Russian)  the  arrival  of  the 
Emperor.  I  was  still  confined  to  my  bed  and  Dr. 
Botkine  was  making  me  his  first  visit  of  the  day  when 
my  door  flew  open  and  Mme.  Dehn,  pale  with  excite- 
ment, rushed  to  my  bedside  exclaiming  breathlessly : 
"He  has  come  !"  As  soon  as  she  could  command  words 
she  described  the  arrival  of  the  Emperor,  not  as  of 
yore  attended,  but  guarded  like  a  prisoner  by  armed 
soldiers.  The  Empress  was  with  Alexei  when  the 
motor  cars  drove  into  the  palace  grounds,  and  Mme. 
Dehn  told  how  she  sprang  to  her  feet  overjoyed  and 
ran  like  a  schoolgirl  down  the  stairs  and  through  the 
long  corridors  to  meet  her  husband.  For  a  time  at 
least  the  happiness  of  reunion  blotted  out  the  suspense 
of  the  past  and  the  gloomy  uncertainty  of  the  future. 
But  afterwards,  alone,  behind  their  own  closed  doors, 
the  emotion  of  the  betrayed  and  deserted  Emperor 
completely  overcame  his  self-control  and  he  sobbed 
like  a  child  on  the  breast  of  his  wife.  It  was  four 
o'clock  in  the  afternoon  before  she  could  come  to  me, 
and  when  she  came  I  read  in  her  white,  drawn  face  the 
whole  story  of  the  ordeal  through  which  she  had 
passed.  With  prideful  composure  she  related  the 
events  of  the  day.     I  tried  to  match  her  in  courage  but 

I  am  afraid  I  failed.    I,  who  in  all  the  twelve  years  of 



my  life  in  the  palace  had  but  three  times  seen  tears 
in  the  eyes  of  the  Emperor,  was  entirely  overwhelmed 
at  her  recital. 

"He  will  not  break  down  a  second  time,"  she  said 
with  a  brave  smile.  "He  is  walking  in  the  garden  now. 
Come  to  the  window  and  see."  She  helped  me  to  the 
window  and  herself  pulled  aside  the  curtain.  Never, 
never  while  I  live  shall  I  forget  what  we  saw,  we  two, 
clinging  together  in  shame  and  sorrow  for  our  dis- 
graced country.  Below  in  the  garden  of  the  palace 
which  had  been  his  home  for  twenty  years  stood  the 
man  who  until  a  few  days  before  had  been  Tsar  of 
all  the  Russias.  With  him  was  his  faithful  friend 
Prince  Dolgorouky,  and  surrounding  them  were  six 
soldiers,  say  rather  six  hooligans,  armed  with  rifles. 
With  their  fists  and  with  the  butts  of  their  guns  they 
pushed  the  Emperor  this  way  and  that  as  though  he 
were  some  wretched  vagrant  they  were  baiting  in  a 
country  road.  "You  can't  go  there,  Gospodin 
Polkovnik  (Mr.  Colonel)."  "We  don't  permit  you  to 
walk  in  that  direction,  Gospodin  Polkovnik."  "Stand 
back  when  you  are  commanded,  Gospodin  Polkovnik." 
The  Emperor,  apparently  unmoved,  looked  from  one 
of  these  coarse  brutes  to  another  and  with  great  dignity 
turned  and  walked  back  towards  the  palace.  I  had 
been  a  very  sick  woman,  and  I  was  now  hardly  fit 
to  stand  on  my  feet.  The  light  went  out  suddenly  and 
I  fainted.  But  the  Empress  did  not  faint.  She  got 
me  back  to  my  bed,  fetched  cold  water,  and  when  I 
awoke  it  was  to  feel  her  cool  hand  bathing  my  head. 
From  her  calm  and  detached  manner  no  one  could  have 
guessed  that  the  scene  we  had  just  witnessed  was  part 


also  of  her  own  tragedy.  Before  leaving  me  she  said 
as  to  a  child:  "If  you  will  promise  to  be  very  good 
and  not  cry  he  shall  come  to  see  you  this  evening." 

After  dinner  they  came,  the  Emperor  and  Empress 
with  our  friend  Lili  Dehn.  The  two  women  sat  down 
at  a  table  with  their  needlework  leaving  the  Emperor 
free  to  sit  by  my  bed  and  talk  to  me  privately.  I 
have  tried  to  show  Nicholas  II  as  a  human  person, 
with  human  emotions,  and  I  have  no  desire  now  to 
represent  him,  in  the  hour  of  his  humiliation,  as  other 
than  a  man  feeling  keenly  and  acutely  the  bitterness  of 
his  position.  I  had  been  unable  until  the  day  of  his 
return  to  realize  with  any  degree  of  clarity  the  full 
extent  of  his  calamity.  It  was  to  me  almost  unbe- 
lievable that  his  enemies,  who  had  so  long  plotted  and 
schemed  for  his  overthrow,  had  at  last  succeeded.  It 
was  beyond  reason  that  the  Emperor,  the  finest  and 
best  of  the  whole  Romanoff  family,  should  be  allowed 
to  fall  under  the  feet  of  his  decadent,  treacherous  kins- 
men and  subjects.  But  the  Emperor,  his  eyes  hard 
and  glistening,  told  me  that  it  was  indeed  true.  And 
he  added:  "If  all  Russia  came  to  me  now  on  their 
knees  I  would  never  return." 

With  tears  in  his  voice  he  spoke  of  the  men,  his  most 
trusted  relations  and  friends,  who  had  turned  against 
him  and  caused  his  downfall.  He  read  me  telegrams 
from  Brusiloff,  Alexieff,  and  other  of  his  generals, 
others  from  members  of  the  family,  including  a  mes- 
sage from  Nicholai  Nicholaievitch,  in  which  the 
writers  "on  their  knees"  begged  his  Imperial  Majesty, 
for  the  salvation  of  Russia,  to  abdicate.  In  whose 
favor  did  they  wish  him  to  abdicate?     The  weak  and 


ineffectual  Duma?  The  great  untaught  masses  of  the 
people?  No,  to  their  own  blind  and  self-seeking 
oligarchy,  which,  under  a  regent  of  its  own  choosing, 
would  rule  the  boy  Alexei  and  through  him  the  people 
and  the  uncounted  wealth  of  Russia.  But  this  at  least 
the  Emperor  could  and  did  prevent.  Both  his  heart 
and  his  mind  forbade  him  to  abdicate  in  favor  of  the 
Tsarevitch.  "My  boy  I  will  not  give  to  them,"  he  said 
feelingly.  "Let  them  get  some  one  else,  Michail,  if 
he  thinks  he  is  strong  enough." 

I  regret  that  I  cannot  remember  every  word  the 
Emperor  told  me  of  the  scenes  in  his  train  when  the 
deputation  from  the  Duma  came  to  demand  his  ab- 
dication. I  was  trying  too  hard  to  obey  the  Empress's 
injunction  to  "be  good  and  not  cry."  But  I  remem- 
ber his  telling  me  how  arrogant  and  vain  the  deputies, 
especially  Goutchkoff  and  Shoulgin,  showed  them- 
selves. On  their  departure  the  Emperor's  first  words 
were  addressed  to  the  two  tall  Cossacks  who  stood 
guard  at  his  door.  "It  is  time  now  for  you  to  tear  my 
initials  from  your  shoulder  straps,"  he  told  them. 
The  Cossacks  saluted  and  one  of  them  said:  "Please 
your  Imperial  Majesty,  please  allow  us  to  kill  them." 
But  the  Emperor  replied:  "It  is  too  late  to  do  that 

Of  his  mother,  who  hurried  from  Kiev,  accompanied 
by  Grand  Duke  Alexander  Michailovitch,  to  see  him, 
he  said  that  he  was  vastly  comforted  to  have  her  near 
him,  but  that  the  sight  of  the  Grand  Duke  was  unen- 
durable. Driving  away  from  the  train  with  the  Em- 
press Dowager,  the  Emperor  had  been  much  moved 
to  see  the  people  along  the  whole  distance  of  two  versts 


fall  on  their  knees  to  bid  him  farewell.  There  was  a 
group  of  schoolgirls  from  the  institute  at  Mogiloff 
who  forced  their  way  past  the  guards  and  surrounded 
their  Sovereign,  begging  his  handkerchief,  his  auto- 
graph on  bits  of  paper,  the  buttons  from  his  uniform, 
anything  for  a  last  souvenir.  The  Emperor's  face 
grew  sharply  lined  when  he  spoke  of  those  brave  girls 
and  the  kneeling  people.  "Why  did  you  not  appeal  to 
them?"  I  asked.  "Why  did  you  not  appeal  to  the 
soldiers?"  But  the  Emperor  answered  gently:  "The 
people  knew  themselves  powerless,  and  as  for  appeal- 
ing to  the  soldiers,  how  could  I?  Already  I  had  heard 
threats  of  murdering  my  family."  His  wife  and  chil- 
dren, he  said,  were  all  on  earth  he  had  left  to  live  for 
now.  Their  happiness  and  well-being  were  all  his  soul 
desired.  As  for  the  Empress,  more  than  himself  the 
real  object  of  malice,  only  over  his  body  should  any 
hand  be  raised  to  injure  her.  Giving  way  once  more 
for  a  brief  moment  to  his  grief  the  Emperor  murmured 
half  to  himself:  "But  there  is  no  justice,  no  justice 
on  earth."  Then  as  if  in  apology  he  said:  "It  has 
shaken  me  badly,  as  you  see.  'For  the  first  few  days  I 
was  so  little  myself  that  I  could  not  even  write  my 

As  we  talked  it  came  over  me  for  the  first  time  in 
full  force  that  all  was  indeed  finished  for  Russia.  The 
army  was  disrupted,  the  nation  fallen.  I  could  foresee, 
to  some  extent  at  least,  the  horrors  we  should  have  to 
meet,  but  in  a  kind  of  desperate  hope  I  asked  the  Em- 
peror if  he  did  not  think  that  the  riots  and  strikes 
would  now  be  put  down.  He  shook  his  head.  "Not 
for  two  years  at  least,"  he  predicted.    But  what  did  he 



think  was  to  become  of  him,  of  the  Empress  and  the 
children?  He  did  not  know,  but  there  was  one  prayer 
he  should  not  be  too  proud  to  make  to  his  enemies,  and 
that  was  that  they  should  not  send  him  out  of  Russia. 
"Let  me  live  here  in  my  own  country,  as  the  humblest 
and  most  obscure  proprietor,  tilling  the  land  and  earn- 
ing the  poorest  living,"  he  exclaimed.  "Send  us  to 
any  distant  corner  of  Russia,  but  only  let  us  stay." 

This  was  the  only  time  I  ever  saw  the  Emperor  in 
the  least  degree  unmanned,  or  overcome  with  the  bit- 
terness of  grief  which  I  knew  must  have  filled  his  spirit. 
After  that  first  day  in  the  palace  gardens  he  gave  his 
jailers  no  opportunity  of  insulting  him.  With  Prince 
Dolgorouky  he  walked  out  daily  but  only  along  near 
pathways  to  the  palace  doors.  The  snow  was  heavy 
on  the  ground  and  the  two  men  vigorously  exercised 
themselves  shoveling  it  from  paths  and  roadways. 
Often  the  Emperor  would  look  up  from  this  strenuous 
work  to  wave  a  hand  to  those  of  us  who  were  watching 
from  the  windows.  In  the  solitude  of  my  sick  chamber 
I  tormented  myself  with  thoughts  of  what  might  be 
in  store  for  the  Emperor  and  the  beloved  family  whose 
happiness  and  well-being  were  more  to  him  than  the 
most  exalted  throne.  They  were  all  prisoners  of  the 
Duma  now,  and  what  dark  and  hapless  fate  was  the 
ruthless,  irresponsible  Duma  preparing  for  them? 
Not  a  comforting  question  to  haunt  the  mind  of  one 
ill  in  body  and  soul.  From  my  first  waking  moment  on 
I  lived  in  anticipation  of  the  daily  visit  of  the  Em- 
press. She  who  had  all  at  stake  still  kept  her  won- 
derful courage  alive.  She  came  in  tall  and  stately,  a 
smile   on   her   gentle,   melancholy   face,   bringing   me 


the  news  of  the  nurseries,  messages  from  the  children, 
making  me  work,  doing  everything  possible  to  cheer 
and  to  lighten  my  mind.  In  the  evening  the  Emperor 
usually  came,  wheeling  his  wife  in  her  invalid's  chair, 
for  by  night  her  strength  had  all  but  gone.  They 
stayed  with  me  for  an  hour  and  then  went  on  to  say 
good  night  to  the  suite  in  the  drawing  room.  Sadly 
diminished  in  numbers  was  that  suite,  but  unchanged 
in  fealty  and  affection  for  fallen  majesty.  Among 
those  devoted  friends  who  appeared  almost  like  the 
survivors  of  a  shipwreck  were  Count  Benkendorff, 
brother  of  the  former  Russian  ambassador  to  Great 
Britain,  and  his  wife,  who  had  boldly  arrived  at  the 
palace  when  it  was  first  surrounded  by  mutinous 
soldiers;  two  maids  of  honor.  Baroness  Buxhoevden 
and  Countess  Hendrikoff;  the  faithful  Miss  Schneider 
("Trina"),  Mme.  Dehn,  Count  Fredericks,  General 
Voyeikoff  and  the  Hussar  officer.  General  Groten. 
The  two  devoted  aides-de-camp.  Lieutenant  Linevitch 
and  Count  Zamirsky,  who  had  flown  to  the  palace  to 
be  near  the  Empress  after  the  abdication,  had  been 
forced  to  leave,  or  they  too  would  have  remained  to 
the  end.  Of  the  household  M.  Gilliard  and  Mr. 
Gibbs,  the  French  and  English  tutors  of  Alexei,  had 
elected  to  remain.  Madeleine,  and  several  other  per- 
sonal attendants,  including  three  nurses,  also  stayed. 
"In  good  times  we  served  the  family,"  said  these  honest 
souls,  "never  will  we  forsake  them  now." 

Not  once,  after  the  very  first  of  our  conversations, 
and  not  at  any  time  I  believe  to  others  in  the  palace 
did  the  Emperor  or  the  Empress  make  the  smallest 
complaint  of  their  captivity.  They  seemed  to  suffer  for 


Russia  rather  than  for  themselves,  for  they  knew,  and 
said  so,  that  the  army,  suddenly  in  the  midst  of  war 
released  from  all  discipline,  would  soon  cease  to  fight 
efficiently,  or  perhaps  to  obey  orders  at  all.  This  of 
course  the  world  knows  is  precisely  what  did  happen. 
The  Emperor,  I  must  admit,  sometimes  betrayed  a 
gruesome  kind  of  humor  over  the  fantastic  blunders 
of  the  self-styled  statesmen  who  were  so  rapidly  mak- 
ing general  shipwreck  of  their  revolution.  In  every 
way  they  showed  their  weakness  and  bewilderment. 
Whether  or  not  they  feared  to  trust  old  officers  of  the 
Empire  with  the  custody  of  the  Imperial  Family  I 
cannot  be  sure,  but  the  men  they  sent  to  Tsarskoe  were 
a  constant  source  of  ironic  mirth  to  the  suite.  Most 
of  these  men  were  young,  raw,  underbred,  and  inex- 
perienced, the  best  of  them  being  junior  officers  pro- 
moted since  19 14.  One  day  one  of  the  guard  officers, 
just  to  show  how  democratic  Russia  had  become, 
swaggered  up  to  the  Emperor  and  offered  to  shake 
hands  with  him.  Unfortunately,  as  he  afterwards  told 
me,  the  Emperor  was  so  busy  shoveling  snow  that  he 
could  not  take  advantage  of  the  man's  condescension. 
The  newly  appointed  commandant  of  the  palace  was 
a  young  man  named  Paul  Kotzebou,  before  the  War 
an  officer  of  the  lancers,  but  for  some  piece  of  miscon- 
duct cashiered  from  the  service.  I  had  long  known 
Kotzebou  and  aside  from  his  doubtful  army  record  I 
was  not  sorry  to  see  him  in  the  palace,  for  I  knew  that 
if  weak  of  character  he  was  at  least  kind  of  heart. 
Kind  indeed  he  proved  himself,  for  he  visited  my  sick- 
room in  friendly  fashion,  risked  arrest  by  consenting 
to  smuggle  letters  to  my  parents  in  Petrograd,   and 


was  the  first  to  warn  me  that  the  Provisional  Govern- 
ment was  contemplating  my  arrest.  Many  of  the  old 
friends  and  advisers  of  the  Emperor  were  already  in 
prison,  but  the  proposal  to  arrest  a  woman  whose  sole 
crime  had  been  devotion  to  the  Empress  and  her  chil- 
dren gave  us  all  an  uncomfortable,  premonitory  shock. 
The  distress  of  the  Empress  was  greater  almost  than 
her  pride.  The  mercy  she  would  have  scorned  to  ask 
for  herself  she  was  ready  to  beg  for  me,  and  she  did 
most  earnestly  implore  Kotzebou  to  intercede  in  my 
behalf.  "What  possible  good  will  it  do  them  to  ar- 
rest one  helpless  woman?"  she  urged.  "Parting  with 
her  would  be  like  losing  one  of  my  own  children." 
Kotzebou,  whatever  his  feelings,  could  only  reply: 
"If  I  could,  Madame — but  there  is  nothing  I  can  do, 

The  Emperor  alone  refused  to  believe  my  arrest  at 
all  probable,  but  the  others  were  badly  frightened  at 
the  prospect.  The  sister  of  mercy  who  had  worked 
in  my  hospital  and  was  taking  care  of  me,  almost 
went  on  her  knees  to  the  Emperor  and  Empress. 
"Now  is  the  time  to  show  your  real  love  for  Anna 
Alexandrovna,"  she  cried.  "Take  her  into  the  rooms 
of  your  own  children  and  never  let  anybody  touch  her." 
Cooler  counsel  came  from  Count  Benkendorff,  who  ad- 
vised the  Emperor  and  Empress  not  to  oppose  my 
arrest  if  it  were  ordered.  The  only  result  of  oppo- 
sition, he  pointed  out,  would  be  more  arrests  and 
perhaps  increased  hardship  for  the  Empress.  "I  do 
not  think  they  will  detain  her,  unless  it  is  in  one  of  the 
rooms  of  the  Tauride,"  he  said,  meaning  that  I  might 
only  be  isolated  for  a  time  in  the  palace  where   the 


Duma  held  its  sessions.  Count  Benkendorff  was  later 
to  learn  what  kind  of  justice  was  being  prepared  by 
the  criminal  lunatics  who  were  at  Russia's  throat. 

One  morning  towards  the  20th  of  March  I  had  a 
hurried  note  from  the  Empress,  the  contents  of  which 
were  enough  to  make  me  forget  all  my  own  troubles. 
Marie,  who  had  been  very  ill  and  who  now  she  feared 
was  dying,  was  calling  constantly  for  me.  The  ser- 
vant who  brought  the  note  told  me  that  Anastasie  also 
was  in  a  critical  condition,  lungs  and  ears  being  in  a 
sad  state  of  inflammation.  Oxygen  alone  was  keeping 
the  children  alive.  Kotzebou  was  calling  on  me  at 
the  time,  and  as  I  sat  up  in  bed  wildly  demanding  to 
be  dressed,  he  begged  me  not  to  leave  my  room. 
"They  are  only  waiting  until  you  are  well  enough  to  be 
arrested,"  he  assured  me.  But  though  I  feared  arrest 
I  feared  still  more  letting  the  child  I  loved  die  with 
one  single  wish  unfulfilled,  and  as  soon  as  I  could  be 
sufficiently  clothed  it  was  Kotzebou  himself  who 
wheeled  my  chair  through  the  long  corridors  to  the 
nurseries.  It  was  the  first  time  in  weeks  that  I  had 
seen  the  children  and  our  meeting  was  full  of  tears. 
We  wept  in  each  other's  arms  and  then  without  wasting 
any  time  I  went  on  into  Marie's  room.  The  child  in- 
deed seemed  to  be  at  the  point  of  death,  but  when  she 
saw  me  the  suffering  in  her  eyes  turned  to  something 
like  joy.  Her  weak  hands  fluttered  on  the  bedclothes 
and  with  a  feeble  cry,  "Annia,  Annia,"  she  began  to 
weep.  Long  I  sat  beside  her  holding  her  hot  and 
wasted  body  in  my  arms,  and  when  I  left  her  she  was 
asleep.  Shaken  though  I  was  with  that  experience,  I 
had  one  more  agony  to  bear.     When  my  chair  was 


being  wheeled  back  along  the  corridor  I  passed  the 
open  door  of  Alexei's  room,  and  this  is  what  I  saw. 
Lying  sprawled  in  a  chair  was  the  sailor  Derevanko, 
for  many  years  the  personal  attendant  of  the  Tsare- 
vitch,  and  on  whom  the  family  had  bestowed  every 
kindness,  every  material  benefit.  Bitten  by  the  mania 
of  revolution,  this  man  was  now  displaying  his  grati- 
tude for  all  their  favors.  Insolently  he  bawled  at  the 
boy  whom  he  had  formerly  loved  and  cherished,  to 
bring  him  this  or  that,  to  perform  any  menial  service 
his  mean  lackey's  brain  could  think  of.  Dazed  and 
apparently  only  half  conscious  of  what  he  was  being 
forced  to  do,  the  child  moved  about  trying  to  obey. 
It  was  too  much  to  bear.  Hiding  my  face  in  my  hands, 
I  begged  them  to  take  me  away  from  the  sickening 

The  next  day,  my  last  in  the  palace,  I  went  again  to 
the  children,  and  for  a  few  hours  at  least  was  a  little 
bit  happy.  The  Emperor  and  Empress  had  luncheon 
served  in  the  nurseries,  and  we  were  all  able  to  eat  in 
some  comfort  because  both  Marie  and  Anastasie  were 
showing  signs  of  improvement.  Still  we  were  troubled 
because  Kotzebou,  as  a  reward  for  his  too  kindly  treat- 
ment of  the  captives,  had  that  morning  been  removed 
from  the  palace,  and  the  doctors  when  they  came 
brought  with  them  newspapers,  fair  samples  of  the  new 
"free"  press  of  Russia,  bristling  with  frightful  stories, 
especially  about  me.  For  the  first  time  I  began  to  real- 
ize, with  a  sick  heart,  what  an  arrest  might  mean, 
what  grotesque  charges  I  might  be  called  upon  to 
face.  For  the  first  time,  in  these  newspapers  I  read 
the  amazing  tale  of  how  I  had  conspired  with  Dr. 


Badmieff  to  poison  the  Emperor  and  the  Tsarevitch. 
Dr.  Badmieff,  that  half  mad  old  Siberian  root  and 
herb  doctor,  who  never  in  his  life  had  been  admitted 
to  the  palace  as  a  physician  or  even  as  a  friend!  It 
was  too  absurd  to  resent.  Even  the  Empress  who  at 
first  had  shown  anger,  burst  into  mocking  laughter. 
"Here,  Annia,"  she  cried,  "keep  this  story  for  your 

The  next  day  I  was  arrested.  I  awoke  in  a  morning 
of  storm  and  howling  wind  and  in  my  soul  a  feeling 
of  dread  and  foreboding.  Immediately  after  my  cof- 
fee I  wrote  a  note  to  the  Empress  asking  her  not  to 
wait  until  afternoon  to  see  me.  Her  reply  was  kind 
and  cheering,  but  she  was  busy  in  the  nurseries  and 
could  not  leave  until  after  the  arrival  of  the  doctors. 
With  luncheon  came  Lili  Dehn,  and  scarcely  had  we 
finished  the  meal  when  we  were  aware  of  great  noise 
and  confusion  in  the  corridor  outside.  An  icy  hand 
seemed  to  seize  my  heart.  "They  are  coming,"  I 
whispered,  and  Mme.  Dehn,  springing  from  her  chair 
cried:  "Impossible.  No —  no — "  and  panic-struck  fled 
the  room.  The  door  flew  open  to  admit  a  frightened 
servant  with  a  note  from  the  Empress.  "Kerensky 
is  going  through  our  rooms.  Do  not  be  frightened. 
God  is  with  us."  Hardly  had  the  man  retired  when 
again  the  door  opened  and  another  frightened  servant, 
a  palace  messenger  in  a  feathered  cap,  announced  in  a 
drowned  voice  the  arrival  of  Kerensky.  In  a  moment 
the  room  seemed  to  fill  up  with  men  and  walking  ar- 
rogantly before  them  I  beheld  a  small,  clean-shaven, 
theatrical  person  whose  essentially  weak  face  was  dis- 
guised in  a  Napoleonic  frown.     Standing  over  me  in 


his  characteristic  attitude,  right  hand  thrust  into  the 
bosom  of  his  jacket,  the  man  boomed  out:  "I  am  the 
Minister  of  Justice.  You  are  to  dress  and  go  at  once 
to  Petrograd."  I  answered  not  a  word  but  lay  still 
on  my  pillows  looking,  him  straight  in  the  face.  This 
seemed  to  disconcert  him  somewhat  for  he  turned  to 
one  of  his  officers  and  said  nervously:  "Ask  the 
doctors  if  she  is  fit  to  go.  Otherwise  she  must  be  ar- 
rested and  isolated  in  the  palace."  Count  Benken- 
dorff,  who  stood  in  the  back  of  the  room  near  the  door, 
volunteered  to  see  the  doctor,  and  when  he  returned 
it  was  with  the  message  that  Dr.  Botkine  gave  them 
permission  to  take  me.  Afterwards  I  learned  that  the 
Empress  reproached  the  doctor  bitterly,  saying  over 
and  over  through  her  tears:  "How  can  you?  How 
can  you?  You  who  have  children  of  your  own."  But 
Dr.  Botkine  was  by  this  time  a  victim  of  craven  fear, 
and  he  was  incapable  of  refusing  any  request  of  the 
Provisional  Government. 

They  gave  me  time  to  dress  warmly,  and  I  had  a 
moment  in  which  to  reply  briefly  to  a  note  from  the 
Emperor  and  Empress,  in  which  they  enclosed  small 
pictures  of  Christ  and  the  Virgin,  signed  with  their 
Majesties'  initials,  N.  and  A.  When  at  last  I  was 
ready  to  go  it  suddenly  surged  over  me  that  this  might 
be  the  end  of  my  long  association  with  these  dearly 
loved  friends,  my  Sovereigns,  whose  intimate  lives  I 
had  shared  for  twelve  years.  Ready  to  fall  on  my 
knees  before  him  if  necessary  I  made  a  final  appeal 
to  Colonel  Korovitchinko,  the  new  commandant  of 
the  palace,  begging  him  to  let  me  see  them  for  one 
moment,  just  long  enough  to  say  good-bye.     Colonel 



Korovitchinko,  who  afterwards  died  a  cruel  death 
at  the  hands  of  the  Bolsheviki,  at  first  refused,  but 
moved  by  my  tears  he  relented  a  little.  The  Emperor, 
he  said,  was  outside  and  could  not  be  summoned,  but 
he  would  exert  his  authority  far  enough  to  send  me 
under  guard  to  say  good-bye  to  the  Empress.  Under 
escort  of  two  officers  I  was  taken  to  the  apartment  of 
Mile.  Schneider,  and  very  soon  the  pale  Empress  was 
wheeled  into  the  room  by  her  devoted  attendant 
Volkov.  We  had  time  for  only  one  long  embrace 
and  the  hurried  exchange  of  two  rings.  Then  Tatiana, 
who  came  with  her  mother,  embraced  me,  weeping,  and 
as  she  too  begged  for  a  last  memory  gift  I  gave  her 
the  only  thing  I  had  to  give,  my  wedding  ring.  Then 
the  soldiers  tore  us  apart  but  I  saw  that  the  man  who 
gave  the  order  did  it  with  tears  in  his  eyes.  The  last 
I  remember  was  the  white  hand  of  the  Empress  point- 
ing upward  and  her  voice:  "There  we  are  always  to- 
gether." Volkov,  weeping,  cried  out  courageously: 
"Anna  Alexandrovna,  God  will  surely  help." 

They  carried  me  downstairs  to  the  motor,  for  I 
could  neither  walk  nor  stand,  even  with  the  help  of 
my  crutches.  At  the  door  stood  several  soldiers  and 
Court  servants,  visibly  distressed,  but  by  this  time  I 
felt  nothing,  heard  nothing.  I  was  turned  to  stone. 
When  I  was  lifted  into  the  car  I  was  startled  to  see 
there  another  woman,  like  myself  swathed  in  wraps 
and  veils.  It  was  Lili  Dehn,  whose  arrest  had  not 
before  this  day  even  been  threatened.  Dazed  as  I  was, 
it  was  some  comfort  to  hear  her  whisper  that  we  were 
to  travel  to  Petrograd  together.  I  recovered  myself 
a  little,  enough  at  least  to  recognize  the  frightened 


face  of  the  servant  who  closed  the  door  of  the  car. 
Killed  a  few  months  later,  this  good  man  had  been 
for  a  long  time  a  sailor  on  the  Imperial  yacht.  "Take 
care  of  their  Majesties,"  I  managed  to  say  to  him. 
Then  the  motor  car  shot  forward,  and  I  left  the  palace 
at  Tsarskoe  Selo  forever.  Both  Lili  and  I  pressed 
our  faces  to  the  glass  in  a  last  effort  to  see  those  be- 
loved we  were  leaving  behind,  and  through  the  mist 
and  rain  we  could  just  discern  a  group  of  white-clad 
figures  crowded  close  to  the  nursery  windows  to  see 
us  go.  In  a  moment  of  time  the  picture  was  blotted 
out  and  we  saw  only  the  wet  landscape,  the  storm-bent 
trees,  the  rapidly  creeping  twilight.  In  another  few 
moments  we  were  at  the  station,  the  dear,  familiar 
station  of  Tsarskoe,  where  so  many,  many  times  I 
had  waited  to  greet  or  to  say  a  short  farewell  to  the 
Emperor  and  Empress.  Ready  for  us  was  one  of  the 
small  Imperial  trains,  now  the  special  train  of 
Kerensky.  Our  guards  hurried  us  into  a  carriage,  and 
the  train  immediately  began  to  move.  At  the  same 
time  our  carriage  was  invaded  by  Kerensky  and  a 
group  of  soldiers.  Without  even  a  pretense  of  decent 
politeness  the  new  Minister  of  Justice  began  to  shout 
at  us:  "Give  your  family  names,"  and  because  we 
did  not  speak  quickly  enough  the  little  man  became 
insulted.  "You  will  learn  that  when  /  ask  a  question 
you  must  answer  promptly."  We  gave  our  names  and 
Kerensky,  turning  triumphantly  to  the  soldiers,  ejacu- 
lated: "Well!  Are  you  convinced  now?"  Ap- 
parently some  of  the  men  had  expressed  doubts  as  to 
whether  they  had  bagged  the  right  criminals.  Sick 
and  half  fainting,  I  sank  back  into  the  cushions  and 


closed  my  eyes  on  their  departing  figures.  Lili  bent 
over  me  with  her  salts  bottle  and  soon  I  was  able  to 
sit  up  with  some  show  of  courage.  It  was  the  first 
time  I  had  left  the  house  since  my  illness  and  I  was 
still  very  weak. 

Arrived  in  Petrograd,  Kerensky  paraded  us  before 
his  officers  like  barbarian  captives  of  some  Roman 
emperor,  but  this  did  not  affect  us  seriously.  Our 
eyes  were  busy  gazing  at  the  changed  aspect  of  Petro- 
grad, soldiers  swanking  around  the  streets  proud  of 
their  slovenly  appearance,  the  badge  of  their  new 
freedom;  mobs  of  people  running  aimlessly  about,  or 
pausing  to  listen  to  street-corner  orators;  and  every- 
where on  walls  and  buildings  masses  of  dirty  red  flags. 
An  old-fashioned  coach  belong  to  the  Imperial  stables 
had  been  sent  for  us  and  still  closely  guarded  we  drove 
to  the  Ministry  of  Justice.  There  we  climbed  a  long 
and  very  steep  staircase — how  I  did  it  on  my  crutches 
I  do  not  yet  understand — and  were  shown  into  a  room 
on  the  third  floor,  empty  even  of  a  wooden  chair. 
Silently  we  stood  and  waited,  and  after  a  time  men 
came  in  carrying  two  sofas.  On  one  of  these  Lili  sat 
down  and  on  the  other  I  lay  prone.  Again  we  waited, 
no  one  near  us  save  the  unkempt  soldier  who  guarded 
the  door.  The  evening  lengthened  and  finally 
Kerensky  honored  us  with  another  brief  visit.  He  did 
not  look  at  me  at  all  but  asked  Lili  if  they  had  built 
us  a  fire.  It  was  an  unnecessary  question,  for  he  must 
have  felt  the  icy  chill  of  the  room.  A  few  minutes 
later,  however,  a  servant  did  build  a  fire  in  the  tiled 
stove,  and  another  brought  in  a  tray  with  eggs  and 
tea.     Left  alone  with  the  unkempt  soldier,  the  man 


suddenly  amazed  us  by  breaking  into  a  volley  of  speech 
in  which  he  cursed  most  eloquently  the  new  order  of 
things.  Nothing  good  would  come  of  it,  nothing, 
was  his  opinion.  Somewhat  reassured  because  we  had 
a  guard  who  was  not  at  heart  a  Revolutionist,  we  lay 
down,  but  the  night  brought  to  neither  of  us  any 
anodyne  of  sleep  and  rest. 


MORNING  dawned  cold  and  gray,  and  so  ex- 
hausted was  I  with  sleeplessness  and  the  dis- 
comfort of  a  hard  bed  without  linen  or  blankets,  that 
Lili  was  alarmed  and  when  the  tea  arrived  she  begged 
the  soldier  who  brought  it  to  have  a  doctor  sent  me. 
But  Kerensky  replied  that  the  doctor  was  engaged  with 
War  Minister  Goutchkoff  and  could  not  be  approached 
at  present.  Within  a  short  time  I  was  to  be  removed 
to  a  hospital,  and  as  for  Mme.  Dehn,  she  might  ex- 
pect good  news  soon.  As  a  matter  of  fact  Mme.  Dehn 
was  released  from  custody  the  next  day.  Feeling  con- 
fident that  she  would  be  let  go,  I  gave  her  what  jewels 
I  had  brought  with  me,  asking  her  to  turn  them  over 
to  my  mother.  In  return  Lili  gave  me  a  few  neces- 
saries, including  a  pair  of  stockings  for, which  later 
I  was  extremely  grateful  because  the  prison  stockings 
were  so  coarse  and  heavy  that  they  hurt  my  injured 

About  three  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  Colonel  Peretz, 
who  afterwards  wrote  a  book  on  the  Revolution,  came 
into  the  room  with  a  group  of  young  boys,  former 
cadets  of  the  military  academy,  now  commissioned 
officers  of  the  new  army.  "Say  good-bye  to  your 
friend  and  come  along,"  I  was  ordered,  and  after 
a  quick  embrace  I  parted  with  Mme.  Dehn,  my  last 

link  with  the  past,  and  followed  the  men  downstairs, 



where  a  large  motor  car  was  waiting.  We  all  got  in, 
the  men's  rifles  considerably  reducing  the  carrying  ca- 
pacity of  the  seats.  As  we  drove  off  the  colonel  began 
a  long  and  insulting  monologue  to  which  I  tried  not 
to  listen.  "Ah!  You  and  your  Grichka  (Gregory)," 
I  heard  him  saying,  "what  a  monument  you  both  de- 
serve for  helping  us  to  bring  about  the  Revolution." 
But  all  that  I  wanted  to  learn  from  him  was  my  des- 
tination, and  as  if  in  answer  to  the  unspoken  question 
he  said:  "All  night  we  were  discussing  the  most  ap- 
propriate lodgings  for  you,  and  we  decided  on  the 
Troubetskoy  Bastion  in  the  fortress."  At  this  point 
we  passed  a  church  and,  after  the  invariable  custom, 
I  made  the  sign  of  the  cross.  Colonel  Peretz  flamed 
into  anger  at  this.  "Don't  dare  cross  yourself,"  he 
cried  with  emphasis  on  the  last  word.  "Rather  pray 
for  the  souls  of  the  martyrs  of  the  Revolution."  Then 
as  I  made  no  response  he  exclaimed:  "Why  don't 
you  answer  when  I  speak  to  you?"  I  replied  coldly 
that  I  had  nothing  whatever  to  say  to  him,  whereupon 
be  began  to  revile  the  Emperor  and  Empress  in 
coarsest  terms,  ending  with  the  words:  "No  doubt 
they  are  in  hysterics  over  what  has  happened  to  them." 
Then  I  did  speak.  "If  you  knew  with  what  dignity 
they  are  enduring  what  has  happened  you  would  not 
dare  say  what  you  have  said."  After  which  the  mono- 
logue was  for  a  moment  or  two  halted. 

Turning  into  the  Liteiny,  a  street  in  which  many 
barracks  and  ministries  are  located,  the  car  stopped 
and  Colonel  Peretz  dispatched  one  of  the  cadet  of- 
ficers on  an  errand  into  a  Government  building.  On 
his  return  the  colonel  delayed  matters  long  enough 


to  make  a  bombastic  speech  on  the  great  services  to 
the  Revolution  performed  by  the  cadets,  and  again 
we  drove  on.  ReaHzing  that  we  were  not  proceeding 
in  the  direction  of  the  Fortress  of  Peter  and  Paul,  I 
allowed  my  feminine  curiosity  to  get  the  better  of 
my  pride  and  I  asked  whither  we  were  bound,  "To 
the  Duma  first,"  was  the  grim  answer.  "To  the 
fortress  afterwards."  Arrived  at  the  Tauride  Palace 
we  alighted  at  what  is  known  as  the  Ministers'  Pavilion 
and  immediately  went  into  the  building.  What  a 
sight!  Crowding  the  rooms  and  the  corridors,  men 
and  women  of  all  ages  and  conditions,  prisoners  of  the 
Provisional  Government !  Looking  about,  I  saw  many 
people  of  my  own  class,  among  them  Mme.  Souk- 
homlinoff  who  for  all  her  manner  betrayed  might  have 
been  a  guest  rather  than  a  prisoner.  We  exchanged 
cheerful  greetings  and  she  introduced  the  two  women 
beside  her,  Mme.  Polouboiarenoff  and  Mme.  Riman, 
wife  of  a  well-known  general.  Mme.  Polouboiaren- 
off, of  whom  I  had  heard  as  a  brilliant  writer  on  a 
conservative  newspaper  (murdered  for  this  later  by 
the  Bolsheviki),  was  quite  self-possessed,  but  Mme. 
Riman's  face  was  wet  with  constantly  flowing  tears. 
A  young  girl  student,  a  typical  Revolutionist  who 
seemed  to  be  in  some  kind  of  authority,  passed  us  in 
a  hurry,  pausing  to  say  to  Mme.  Riman:  "What  are 
you  crying  about?  You  are  going  to  be  set  free  while 
these  two" — Mme.  Soukhomlinoff  and  myself — "are 
going  to  the  fortress."  Poor  Mme.  Riman  was  crying 
because  her  husband  was  already  in  prison,  but  the 
revolutionary  student  could  not  be  expected  to 
sympathize  with  that. 


It  really  is  easier  to  be  calm  over  one's  own  than 
over  another's  fate,  as  I  learned  when  I  found  myself, 
with  Mme.  Soukhomlinoff,  once  more  in  a  motor  car 
bound  for  that  mysterious  prison  on  the  left  bank  of 
the  Neva,  directly  opposite  the  Winter  Palace,  the 
Fortress  of  Peter  and  Paul.  As  we  left  the  Tauride 
the  girl  student,  who  after  all  had  some  natural  feel- 
ings, asked  me  for  my  father's  telephone  number  that 
she  might  notify  my  parents  where  I  had  been  sent. 
"No  need  to  bother  about  that,"  broke  in  the 
chivalrous  Colonel  Peretz.  "The  newspapers  will 
have  a  full  report."  "All  the  better,"  I  rejoined, 
"for  then  many  more  will  pray  for  me." 

Rolling  into  the  vast  enclosure  of  the  fortress,  we 
stopped  at  the  entrance  of  the  Troubetskoy  Bastion. 
A  group  of  soldiers,  dirty  and  wolfish  of  demeanor, 
rushed  to  meet  us.  "Now  I  am  bringing  you  two  very 
desperate  political  prisoners,"  shouted  the  colonel,  as 
the  men  closed  around  us.  But  a  stout  Cossack,  much 
more  human  than  the  rest,  assumed  authority  saying 
that  he  was  that  day  acting  in  place  of  the  governor 
of  the  fortress.  Preceded  by  this  man,  we  traversed  a 
long  series  of  narrow,  winding  stone  passages,  so  dark 
that  I  could  see  only  a  few  feet  ahead.  Suddenly  I 
was  halted,  hinges  creaked,  and  I  was  roughly  pushed 
into  a  pitch-dark  cell  the  door  of  which  was  instantly 
bolted  behind  me. 

No  one  who  has  not  been  a  prisoner  can  possibly 
know  the  sickening  sensation  which  possessed  me, 
standing  there  in  that  dark  hole,  afraid  to  take  a  step 
forward,  unable  to  touch  with  my  groping  hands  either 
walls  or  furniture.     My  heart  leaped  and  pounded  in 


my  breast  and  I  clung  desperately  to  my  crutches  lest 
I  should  fall  into  that  unfathomed  darkness.  A  few 
minutes  of  wild  terror  and  then  as  my  eyes  grew  ac- 
customed to  the  dark  I  saw  ahead  of  me  a  narrow  iron 
cot  towards  which  I  moved  with  infinite  caution.  In 
my  progress  towards  the  bed  my  feet  sank  into  pools 
of  stagnant  water  which  covered  the  floor,  and  soon  I 
perceived  that  the  walls  of  the  cell  were  also  dripping 
with  moisture.  The  tiny  window,  high  in  the  farthest 
wall,  admitted  little  air,  and  the  whole  place  was  foul 
with  dampness  and  the  odor  of  years.  It  reeked  with 
even  worse  smells  as  I  quickly  discovered,  for  close 
to  the  bed  was  an  uncovered  toilet  connected  with 
archaic  plumbing.  The  bed  was  hard  and  lumpy  and 
I  do  not  think  that  the  thin  mattress  had  ever  been 
cleaned  or  aired.  However,  that  mattress  was  not  to 
afflict  me  long.  Within  a  few  minutes  my  cell  door 
was  thrown  open  and  several  uniformed  men  entered. 
At  their  head  was  a  black-bearded  ruffian  who  told  me 
that  he  was  Koutzmine,  representative  of  the  Minister 
of  Justice,  and  was  authorized  to  arrange  the  regime 
of  all  prisoners.  At  his  orders  the  soldiers  tore  from 
under  me  the  ill-smelling  mattress  and  the  hard  little 
pillow,  leaving  me  only  a  rough  bed  of  planks.  Under 
his  orders  they  tore  off  my  rings  and  jerked  loose  a 
gold  chain  from  which  were  suspended  several  precious 
relics.  They  hurt  me  and  I  cried  out  in  protest,  where- 
upon the  soldiers  spat  at  me,  struck  me  with  their 
fists  and  left,  noisily  clanging  the  iron  door  behind 
them.  Wrapping  my  cloak  around  me,  I  crouched 
down  on  the  bed  shivering  from  head  to  foot  and  filled 
with  such  an  agony  of  loathing  and  disgust  and  deso- 


lation  that  I  thought  I  should  die.  Not  a  particle  of 
food  was  brought  me  that  day,  and  nothing  broke  the 
monotony  of  the  dragging  hours  save  now  and  again 
when  the  small  grating  in  the  door  of  my  cell  was 
pushed  aside  and  a  gaping  soldier  looked  in.  Then 
came  night,  hardly  darker  than  the  day,  but  more 
silent.  Weak  with  hunger,  spent  with  pain  I  clutched 
my  aching  head  with  my  hands  and  asked  God  if  He 
had  forgotten  me.  At  that  moment  of  extreme  misery 
I  was  startled  and  at  the  same  time  strangely  com- 
forted by  a  sudden  low  but  distinct  rapping  on  the 
other  side  of  the  wall.  Instinctively  I  knew  that  it  was 
Mme.  Soukhomlinoff  who  was  trying  to  speak  to  me 
in  the  only  language  prisoners  have.  I  rapped  back, 
almost  happily,  for  I  felt  that  with  a  friend  so  near  I 
was  not  entirely  deserted. 

I  must  have  slept  after  that,  for  the  next  thing  I 
remember  was  a  man  entering  the  cell  with  a  pot  of 
hot  water  and  a  small  piece  of  black  bread  which  he 
placed  on  an  iron  shelf  near  the  bed.  "As  soon  as 
your  money  arrives  you  can  have  tea,"  he  announced 
briefly.  Tea  would  have  been  a  priceless  blessing  in 
that  cold  place,  but  I  was  so  thirsty  that  I  drank  every 
drop  of  the  hot  water  and  was  thankful.  I  suppose  I 
ate  the  black  bread  too,  bad  as  it  was,  for  I  was  very 

How  to  describe  the  days  that  followed,  slow-paced, 
monotonous,  yet  each  one  filled  with  its  special  meed 
of  suffering?  On  one  of  the  first  days  a  grim  woman 
came  in  and  stripped  me  of  my  underclothes,  substi- 
tuting coarse  and  unclean  garments  marked  with  the 
number  of  my  cell,  which  was  70.     No  prison  dress 


seemed  to  be  provided,  so  I  was  allowed  to  keep  my 
own.  But  in  the  process  of  undressing  the  woman 
discovered  a  slender  gold  bracelet  which  I  had  worn 
day  and  night  for  many  years  and  which  was  locked 
on  my  arm.  She  called  Koutzmine  and  his  guard  of 
soldiers  and  they,  indignant  that  they  had  overlooked 
a  single  article  of  value,  began  to  force  the  bracelet 
over  my  hand.  As  the  little  circlet  was  not  intended 
to  go  over  my  hand  their  efforts  caused  me  such  pain 
that  I  screamed  in  spite  of  myself.  Touched,  or  per- 
haps merely  annoyed  at  this,  Koutzmine  suggested  to 
the  soldiers  that  if  I  would  promise  not  to  give  the 
bracelet  to  anyone  I  might  be  allowed  to  keep  it.  But 
his  suggestion  met  with  no  sympathy  and  the  bracelet 
was  finally  forced  over  my  bruised  hand. 

The  awful  food  and  the  still  more  awful  solitude 
were  daily  afflictions,  and  I  think  they  were  really  the 
worst  of  all.  Twice  a  day  a  soldier  brought  in  a  nause- 
ous dish,  a  kind  of  soup  made  of  the  bones  and  skin  of 
fish,  none  too  fresh.  Sometimes,  if  the  soldier 
happened  to  be  in  an  especially  vicious  mood,  he  spat 
in  the  soup  before  giving  it  to  me,  and  more  than  once 
I  found  small  pieces  of  glass  among  the  bones.  Yet  so 
ravenous  was  my  hunger  that  I  actually  swallowed 
enough  of  the  vile  stuff  to  keep  myself  alive.  Only  by 
holding  my  nose  with  my  fingers  was  I  able  to  get  a^ 
few  spoonfuls  down  my  throat.  What  was  left  I 
was  careful  to  pour  into  the  filthy  toilet,  for  I  had  been 
told  that  unless  I  ate  what  was  given  me  I  would  be 
left  to  starve.  Hot  water  and  black  bread  continued 
to  be  doled  out  in  small  quantities,  but  there  was  never 
any   tea.      No    food   was    allowed   to   be    given   the 


prisoners  even  when  it  was  brought  to  the  fortress  by 
relatives  and  friends.  Neither  was  any  kind  of  occu- 
pation given  the  wretched  captives.  We  were  not  even 
allowed  to  clean  our  own  cells,  a  soldier  coming  in  once 
a  week  to  wipe  up  the  wet  and  slimy  floors.  When  I 
begged  the  privilege  of  doing  this  myself  the  soldier 
replied:  "A  prisoner  who  works  is  not  a  prisoner  at 
all."  It  is  true  that  when  he  has  absolutely  nothing 
to  do  he  is  worse  than  a  prisoner,  he  is  a  living  corpse. 
Actual  death  being  too  merciful  for  political 
prisoners,  we  were  taken  out,  one  by  one,  for  ten 
minutes  every  day.  The  exercise  ground  was  a  small 
grassy  court  where  a  few  shrubs  and  trees  gave  promise 
of  green  leaves  later  on.  No  words  can  describe  the 
relief,  the  blessed  joy  that  those  few  moments  of  light 
and  air  and  the  sight  of  the  blue  sky  brought  to  my 
heart.  It  seemed  to  me  that  I  lived  only  for  those 
moments.  Of  course  the  walled  court  was  well 
guarded  by  armed  soldiers  and  never  once  did  their 
fierce  eyes  ever  leave  me.  Still  it  was  a  bit  of  God's 
beautiful  world,  a  breath  of  His  sweet  air,  and  I 
breathed  it  deep  into  my  soul,  keeping  it  there  for  hope 
and  comfort  until  the  next  day  came.  In  the  center 
of  the  court  was  a  small  and  dingy  bath  house  where, 
on  Fridays  and  Saturdays,  the  prisoners  were  treated 
to  a  sort  of  a  bath.  On  those  days  we  were  not  per- 
mitted to  walk,  but  I  for  one  did  not  complain  of  this. 
Any  respite  from  the  gravelike  existence  of  the  cells 
was  a  blessing.  It  was  still  very  cold  and  when  I  lay 
down  for  the  night  I  never  removed  my  clothes.  I  had 
two  woolen  handkerchiefs,  or  rather,  head  kerchiefs, 
and  one  of  these  I  tied  over  my  head  and  the  other  I 


wrapped  around  my  shoulders  for  warmth.  Usually 
I  slept  until  about  four  o'clock  when  the  bells  of  a 
church  hard  by  broke  into  my  slumbers.  After  that  I 
tried  to  doze,  but  very  soon  came  the  tramp  of  boots  on 
the  stones  of  the  corridors  and  the  crash  of  wood  which 
the  soldiers  brought  in  each  day  for  their  stoves,  I 
always  woke  up  shivering  and  my  first  move  was  to- 
wards a  corner  of  my  cell  where  the  stones  were  dry 
and  a  little  warm  from  the  stove  outside.  Here  I 
huddled  and  shook  until  the  hot  water  and  the  black 
bread  were  thrust  in.  I  had  never  fully  recovered 
from  my  illness  and  the  cold  and  damp  brought  on 
first  a  pleurisy  and  afterwards  a  racking  cough.  I  was 
so  weak  that  sometimes  in  crossing  from  the  bed  to 
what  I  called  the  warm  corner  I  slipped  and  fell  and 
lay  on  the  wet  floor  unable  to  rise.  The  soldier  who 
thus  found  me,  if  he  were  of  the  half  decent  sort, 
would  pick  me  up  and  throw  me  on  the  plank  bed. 
Otherwise  he  would  merely  kick  me. 

For  the  first  two  weeks  I  spent  in  the  Troubetskoy 
Bastion  the  only  attendants  were  men.  The  soldiers 
had  the  keys  to  the  cells  and  the  complete  freedom  of 
the  corridors.  The  first  lot  were  men  of  the  3rd 
Rifle  Regiment  of  Petrograd,  but  within  a  few  days 
some  of  them  were  shifted  and  their  places  were  taken 
by  a  miscellaneous  force  from  one  of  the  most  unruly  of 
the  mutinous  reserves.  Riots  and  fights  between  the 
two  bands  became  an  almost  daily  occurrence  and  the 
nerves  of  the  prisoners  were  tortured  by  the  yells  and 
blows  of  the  battle.  My  only  comfort,  aside  from  the 
ten  minutes'  respite  of  the  exercise  ground,  was  in  the 
wall-tapping  between  my  cell   and   Mme.   Soukhom- 


linoff's.  This  had  developed  into  a  regular  code  and 
we  managed  to  carry  on,  by  alternately  long  and  short 
taps,  quite  lucid  conversations.  Once  to  our  fright  the 
Governor  of  the  bastion,  Chkoni,  caught  us  at  this  for- 
bidden game  and  threatened  us,  if  it  happened  again, 
with  the  dark,  cell,  a  place  of  unknown  horrors,  as  we 
knew,  for  we  had  listened  to  the  groans  and  cries  of  the 
former  police  chief  Belezky  while  he  suffered  there. 
After  the  warning  of  Chkoni  Mme.  Soukhomlinoff  and 
I  communicated  with  each  other  only  in  the  middle  of 
the  night  when  the  snores  of  the  soldiers  in  the  corri- 
dors guaranteed  a  degree  of  safety.  Without  these 
cautiously  tapped-out  conversations  I  really  do  not 
know  how  I  should  have  lived  and  kept  sane. 

The  cough  which  had  been  afflicting  me  grew  worse 
rather  than  better  and  the  only  relief  that  was  offered 
me  was  a  primitive  kind  of  cupping  which  did  the  cough 
no  good  but  covered  my  chest  with  black  and  blue 
bruises.  Finally,  at  the  request  of  the  sanitary  soldier 
who  had  done  the  cupping,  the  prison  doctor  was  sent 
for.  This  man,  whose  name  was  Serebrianikoff,  was 
one  of  the  most  dreadful  persons  I  ever  came  in  contact 
with.  He  had  a  red,  malicious  face,  his  clothes  and 
person  were  revoltingly  dirty,  and  to  increase  their  ef- 
fect he  wore  on  his  bulging  waistcoat  a  huge  red  bow, 
emblem  of  his  revolutionary  ardor.  When  he  came  into 
my  cell  he  literally  tore  the  clothes  from  my  back  in  a 
pretended  examination,  then  turning  to  the  soldiers  in 
the  doorway  he  shouted:  "This  woman  is  the  worst 
of  the  whole  lot;  an  absolute  idiot  from  a  life  of  vice." 
Slapping  me  on  one  cheek  and  then  on  the  other,  he 
began  to  ask  me  questions  which  I  cannot  repeat  here 


of  my  alleged  orgies  with  Rasputine,  with  Nicholas  and 
"Alice"  as  he  called  the  Empress.  Even  the  soldiers 
looked  disgusted  and  I  shuddered  away  from  him  sick 
with  repulsion.  That  night  I  was  so  far  gone  phys- 
ically and  mentally  that  I  could  not  answer  Mme.  Souk- 
homlinoff  when  she  tapped  on  the  wall.  All  I  could  do 
was  to  cough  and  shiver  and  in  an  incoherent,  half  mad 
fashion  pray:  "My  God,  my  God,  hast  Thou  for- 
saken me?" 

The  next  morning  the  soldier  who  brought  my  hot 
water  and  bread  thought  me  dying  and  insisted  in  send- 
ing again  for  the  unspeakable  Serebrianikoff,  although 
I  begged  him  not  to.  "Send  a  woman,  I  implore  you," 
I  whispered.  But  there  was  no  woman  to  send,  and  the 
prison  doctor  came  instead.  Declaring  that  I  was 
merely  shamming,  this  brute  again  struck  me  In  the 
face  and  left  saying:  "I'll  punish  you  for  this. 
There'll  be  no  exercise  for  you  for  two  weeks  after  you 
think  yourself  well  enough  to  go  out."  He  kept  his 
word,  and  for  two  weeks  after  I  ceased  to  be  acutely 
ill  I  rem.ained  all  day  in  my  cell  weeping  for  the  clean 
air  and  a  sight  of  the  blue  sky.  Little  trickles  of  pale 
sunlight  were  beginning  to  steal  through  my  barred 
windows,  the  cold  was  less  Intense  and  I  knew  that 
outside,  In  the  world  of  freedom,  the  spring  had 

One  little  bit  of  good  news  came  at  this  time. 
Women  wardresses  had  been  appointed  to  look  after 
the  special  needs  of  the  women  prisoners.  Two  at- 
tendants from  a  women's  prison  were  the  first  to  arrive, 
but  they  were  so  shocked  at  the  conditions  they  found 
in  the  fortress  that  they  refused  to  stay.     They  were 


replaced  by  others,  one  a  saucy  young  person  whose  sole 
energies  went  into  flirtations  with  the  soldiers,  and  an 
older  woman  with  melancholy  dark  eyes  and  the  best 
and  kindest  of  hearts.  I  cannot  tell  her  name  because 
if  she  is  still  alive  and  in  Russia  she  must  be  in  the 
employ  of  the  Bolsheviki.  I  will  call  her  simply  the 
Woman.  Her  kindness  to  me  I  can  never  repay,  but 
at  least  I  shall  never  forget  it,  especially  since  I  knew 
that  every  kind  act  she  did  was  at  her  own  personal 
risk.  The  Woman  was  on  duty  only  until  nine  o'clock 
at  night  and  was  never  allowed  to  enter  my  cell  alone. 
Yet  she  often  managed  cleverly  to  follow  slowly  when 
she  and  the  guard  left  the  cell,  and  she  frequently 
dropped  on  the  floor  behind  her  little  pieces  of  sausage, 
chocolate,  or  bread  nearly  white.  In  the  cell  we  dared 
not  talk,  but  when  she  took  me  to  the  bath  house  we 
exchanged  whispered  conversations,  and  through  her  I 
got  a  little  news  of  the  exciting  events  of  the  time.  The 
Provisional  Government  was  tottering  and  the  star  of 
Kerensky  was  rising  rapidly.  The  Imperial  Family 
were  still  at  Tsarskoe  Selo,  prisoners  but  alive,  and  that 
knowledge  gave  me  a  new  impulse  to  live. 

I  must  record  one  especially  kind  act  my  new 
friend  did  in  my  behalf.  Easter  Sunday  came,  and 
sitting  on  my  hard  bed  I  ventured  to  sing  softly  a  verse 
or  two  of  a  well-remembered  Easter  hymn.  On  the 
Good  Friday  preceding  we  had  been  allowed  to  leave 
our  cells  one  by  one  under  guard  and  to  confess  to  a 
good  old  priest,  whose  distress  at  our  sorry  plight  so 
moved  him  that  he  heard  our  confessions  with  great 
tears  in  his  eyes.  Earnestly  this  old  priest  had  begged 
Kerensky  to  allow  him  to  visit  prisoners  in  their  cells 


and  do  what  he  could  for  their  comfort,  but  Kerensky 
curtly  refused. 

I  was  thinking  of  him  on  this  Easter  morning.  The 
soldiers  had  been  running  through  the  corridors  calling 
to  one  another,  perhaps  in  jest,  perhaps  as  a  matter  of 
habit,  the  Russian  greeting:  "Kristos  Voskrese," 
Christ  is  risen,  to  which  the  response  is:  "Voistino 
Voskrese,"  He  is  risen  indeed.  I  could  see  that  the 
soldiers  had  plates  of  the  sugary  cheese  which  every- 
body eats  at  Easter  and  which  some  of  the  prisoners 
received.  Not  I,  because  I  was  considered  too  wicked, 
too  vile.  Nevertheless,  because  of  the  trickle  of  sun- 
shine that  stole  through  the  bars  of  my  window,  and 
because  the  old  priest  had  really  given  me  great  com- 
fort, I  began  to  sin^.  Instantly  the  soldiers  outside 
commanded  me  rudely  to  keep  silent.  It  was  too 
much.  I  laid  my  head  down  on  the  rags  that  formed 
my  pillow  and  began  to  cry  miserably.  Then  my  hand 
strayed  under  the  pillow,  touching  something.  It  was 
a  little  red  Easter  egg  left  there  by  the  Woman,  to 
make  me  feel  that  even  in  that  place  I  was  not  entirely 
friendless.  Never  did  a  gift  come  as  such  a  joyful 
surprise.  I  hugged  it  to  my  heart,  kissed  it  and 
thanked  God. 

I  was  not  forsaken.  Indeed  the  worst  was  already 
passed  for  me,  for  the  next  day  I  was  told  that  on 
every  Friday  after  I  was  to  receive  a  visit  from  my 
parents,  whom  I  had  feared  I  was  never  to  see  again 
on  earth. 


VISITORS  in  prison!  Who  but  one  who  has 
spent  days  and  nights  of  anguished  loneliness 
behind  bolted  doors  can  possibly  imagine  the  joy  of 
such  anticipation?  I  looked  forward,  almost  as 
toward  freedom  itself,  to  the  first  Friday  when  I  should 
see  my  beloved  parents.  I  pictured  myself  running 
forward  to  embrace  them,  I  could  see  my  father's  kind 
and  loving  smile,  my  mother's  blue  eyes  full  of  happy 
tears.  How  we  would  sit,  hand  in  hand,  and  talk  over 
all  that  had  happened  since  our  parting!  They  would 
bring  me  news,  messages,  perhaps  even  letters  from 
those  other  captives  in  Tsarskoe  Selo.  I  should  hear 
that  the  children  were  well  again  and  the  Empress's 
deepest  anxieties  were  removed. 

Alas !  the  harsh  reality  of  my  foolish  dreams.  When 
the  day  came  I  limped,  between  armed  soldiers, 
through  the  long,  gray  corridors  to  the  visitors'  room, 
and  there  at  the  end  of  a  long  wooden  table  which 
divided  us  like  an  impassable  gulf  I  saw  my  mother. 
There  was  no  embrace  allowed,  not  even  a  touch  of 
hands.  My  mother  tried  to  smile,  tried  to  look  at  me 
with  the  love  I  craved,  but  in  spite  of  herself  her  face 
paled  and  an  expression  of  horror  congealed  her  fea- 
tures. I  stood  there  before  her  white  with  the  pasty 
whiteness  of  prison,  my  uncombed,  unkempt  hair  hang- 
ing about  my  shoulders,  my  dress  dirty  and  wrinkled 



and  an  unhealed  cut  ploughing  a  bloody  furrow  across 
my  forehead.  To  the  question  she  dared  not  ask  I 
touched  the  ugly  wound  and  told  her  it  was  nothing, 
nothing.  I  could  have  told  her  that  a  soldier  named 
Izotov,  in  a  fit  of  animal  temper,  had  knocked  me 
against  the  edge  of  the  cell  door,  and  that  the  cut 
had  received  absolutely  no  attention  since.  Had  we 
been  alone  I  should  have  wept  the  whole  story  out 
on  her  breast,  but  we  were  not  alone.  Standing  over 
us  like  inquisitors  were  the  Procureur  of  Petrograd 
and  the  terrible  Chkoni,  governor  of  the  Troubetskoy 
Bastion,  and  afterwards  governor  of  the  fortress  it- 
self. Ten  minutes  only  were  allowed  us,  and  at  the 
end  of  eight  fleeting  minutes  Chkoni,  watch  in  hand, 
roared  out:  "Two  minutes  left.  Finish  your  talk." 
But  we  had  no  talk.  Sobs  choked  our  words,  the  few 
commonplace  words  that  in  such  circumstances  can  be 
spoken.  We  could  only  bid  each  other  be  brave  and 
trust  in  God's  mercy.  We  could  but  gaze  and  gaze 
at  each  other  through  streaming  tears.  Then  they 
separated  us. 

When  the  next  Friday  came  I  resolved  to  make  my- 
self a  little  more  presentable.  I  had  no  mirror  but  I 
begged  the  Woman  to  loan  me  a  small,  cracked  frag- 
ment. They  had  taken  away  all  my  toilet  articles  and 
every  single  hairpin,  but  the  Woman  gave  me  two 
hairpins  of  her  own  and,  combing  my  hair  with  my 
fingers  I  arranged  it  more  or  less  neatly.  Every  day 
I  washed  and  cared  for  the  cut  on  my  forehead  and 
when  the  visiting  hour  at  last  arrived  I  fancied  that  I 
looked  rather  more  like  myself.  This  time  the  pre- 
cious ten  minutes  were  spent  with  my  father,  and  be- 


cause  he  had  been  prepared  in  advance  for  the  wretched 
object  his  daughter  had  become  our  brief  interview 
was  less  emotional  than  that  of  the  preceding  Friday. 
Brave  and  erect  my  father  held  himself  before  those 
brutal  jailers,  and  my  heart  glowed  with  love  and  pride 
to  see  him.  We  managed  to  exchange  a  few  sentences 
and  my  father  told  me  that  he  had  obtained  permission 
to  send  me  money  to  buy  tea  and  a  few  other  com- 
forts. He  told  me  that  he  and  my  mother  had  waited 
three  hours  to  see  me  and  because  it  had  been  ruled 
that  they  could  not  both  be  admitted  on  the  same  day 
that  my  mother  was  standing  close  to  the  door  of  the 
next  room  just  to  catch  the  faint  sound  of  my  voice. 
These  words  roused  Chkoni  to  a  perfect  fury.  "So!" 
He  fairly  yelled.  "But  I'll  spoil  that  game,"  and 
rushing  out  he  slammed  the  door  between  the  two 
rooms.  My  father  flushed  crimson  but  he  spoke  no 
word  nor,  of  course,  did  I.  A  single  protest  might 
have  meant  punishment  for  me,  and  for  us  all  no  more 

I  saw  my  father  only  three  times,  my  mother  a 
little  oftener,  as  her  health  was  the  better  of  the  two. 
The  money  my  father  sent  me  did  not  reach  me  except 
in  very  minute  sums.  By  far  the  greater  part  of  it 
was  kept  by  the  jailers,  and  gambled  away.  Not  satis- 
fied with  that,  the  men  warned  my  father  that  nothing 
except  payment  to  the  prison  heads  would  save  me 
from  death,  or  worse  still  from  assault  by  the  soldiers. 
My  father  had  long  ago  been  deprived  of  his  income, 
but  he  and  my  mother  sold  some  valuables  and  gave 
it  to  the  blackmailers  who  wanted  it  only  for  more 
gambling.      Their  sacrifice   gave   my  parents   a  little 


peace  of  mind,  but  it  did  not  save  me  from  three  of 
the  most  horrible  nights  I  spent  in  the  fortress.  On 
each  of  these  nights  my  cell  was  invaded  by  drunken 
soldiers  who  threatened  me  with  unspeakable  things. 
On  the  first  occasion  I  simply  groveled  on  the  wet  floor 
and  prayed  the  man,  in  the  name  of  his  mother  and 
mine,  to  let  me  alone,  and,  drunk  as  he  was,  my  words 
actually  penetrated  his  dark  soul  and  shamed  it.  The 
next  men  were  less  drunk  but  were  far  more  bestial. 
At  the  sight  of  them  I  threw  myself  against  the  wall 
and  pounded  frantically,  screaming  at  the  top  of  my 
lungs.  Mme.  Soukhomllnoff  heard  and  understood. 
She  screamed  too,  frightfully,  and  with  all  her  might 
shook  the  heavy  door  of  her  cell.  This  brought  the 
guard  and  once  more  I  was  saved.  The  third  time  I 
was  so  paralyzed  with  fright  that  I  could  not  scream. 
I  simply  fell  on  my  knees,  holding  up  my  little  ikon, 
and  begged  like  a  trapped  animal.  The  man  hesitated 
a  moment,  spat  on  me  contemptuously,  and  left.  The 
next  day,  half  dead  with  shame  and  fear,  I  managed 
to  tell  the  Woman  all  that  had  passed.  Indignantly 
she  went  to  the  Governor  of  the  fortress,  and  after 
that  even  I,  "the  worst  woman  in  prison,"  was  spared 
the  ultimate  insult. 

Although  we  could  not  know  it,  things  were  gradu- 
ally changing  for  the  better  in  the  fortress.  A  little 
physical  Improvement  was  apparent.  The  cold  had 
lessened  and  in  our  short  walks  in  the  prison  yard  we 
could  see  that  lovely  spring,  with  its  fresh  green  leaves 
and  springing  flowers,  had  come  to  stay.  I  remember 
one  day  seeing  In  the  grass  a  little  yellow  flower.  It 
may  have  been  a  buttercup  or  a  dandelion  or  some- 


thing  else  we  ordinarily  call  weeds,  but  to  my  eyes  it 
was  an  exquisite  thing.  Audaciously  I  stooped  and 
picked  it,  hiding  it  quickly  in  the  bosom  of  my  dress. 
The  next  visiting  day  I  showed  it  to  my  father  and 
dropped  it  on  the  table.  On  leaving  the  room  he  con- 
trived to  get  hold  of  it  and  after  his  death  in  191 8  I 
found  it,  carefully  preserved  among  his  private  papers. 
I  never  picked  another  flower  in  that  prison  yard, 
although  once  I  tried.  But  this  time  a  guard  caught 
me,  and  struck  the  flower  from  my  hand  with  the  end 
of  his  rifle. 

Things  were  improving  under  the  surface,  but  aside 
from  the  welcome  change  in  the  weather  conditions 
seemed  for  a  time  no  better.  In  the  cell  adjoining 
that  of  Mme.  Soukhomlinoff  was  my  old  friend 
General  Voyeikoff,  who  was  tortured  almost  as  piti- 
lessly as  myself.  My  heart  ached  for  him.  In  cell 
69  was  for  some  time  the  police  detective  Manouiloff, 
but  when  he  was  removed  to  another  prison  the  writer 
Kolichko  was  placed  in  the  cell.  Kolichko,  poor 
wretch,  was  so  overcome  by  his  arrest  and  imprison- 
ment that  during  the  first  nights  he  sobbed  so  long  and 
bitterly  that  I  found  it  impossible  to  sleep.  I  was  so 
unhappy  that  I  began  to  pray  for  death,  and  once  I 
even  resolved  to  end  my  life.  I  had  no  weapon  but  a 
rusty  needle  which  I  had  picked  up  and  carefully  con- 
cealed, but  I  had  heard  somewhere  that  there  was  a 
spot  at  the  base  of  the  brain  which  if  punctured  ever 
so  little  would  cause  death.  Before  seeking  that  spot 
I  felt  that  I  must  say  adieu  to  my  brave  little  friend 
Mme.  Soukhomlinoff,  and  so  softly  I  rapped  out  a  fare- 
well message  on  the  wall.     Her  quick  mind  instantly 


divined  my  intention  and  without  losing  any  time  she 
sent  for  the  Woman  and  my  rusty  needle  was  taken 
away  from  me. 

It  began  to  be  sultry  in  the  Troubetskoy  Bastion  and 
the  air  in  the  cells  became  thick  and  foul.  My  small 
window,  which  looked  out  on  a  narrow  court  and  a 
high  wall,  admitted  little  light  and  no  breeze  at  all. 
I  used  to  climb  painfully  up  on  the  iron  shelf  which 
did  duty  for  a  table  and  pressing  my  face  close  to  the 
bars  I  breathed  in  all  the  air  possible.  Instead  of 
seeking  the  warm  corner  of  my  cell  I  now  sat  for 
hours  together  with  my  body  against  the  wettest  and 
coldest  stones.  My  despondency  increased  every  day, 
and  I  almost  ceased  to  pray  or  to  believe  that  the  uni- 
verse held  any  God  to  whom  the  prayers  of  captives 
could  ascend.  Yet  all  the  time  God  was  sending  me 

One  day  a  soldier  came  to  my  cell  and  roughly  bade 
me  get  up  and  go  with  two  guards  for  examination. 
Not  knowing  exactly  what  that  meant,  I  rose  from  my 
cot  and  followed  the  men  to  a  room  in  the  fortress 
where  the  High  Commission  of  Inquiry  appointed 
by  Kerensky  was  then  in  session.  Bewildered  by  the 
sudden  transition  from  the  bastion  to  a  room  full  of 
comfortable  furniture,  and  almost  blinded  by  the  bril- 
liant light  and  sunshine,  I  had  all  I  could  do  to  answer 
their  few  inconsequential  questions.  I  have  described 
this  first  examination  in  another  chapter,  and  I  shall 
not  repeat  it  here.  It  was  so  foolish  that  afterwards 
in  my  hot  and  ill-smelling  cell  I  actually  found  myself 
laughing,  and  it  had  been  a  long  time  since  I  had 
laughed.     Judge  Roudneff,  the  only  one  of  the  com- 


mission  who  showed  himself  fair-minded  or  even 
capable  of  just  judgment,  was  present  at  the  inquiry, 
but  I  do  not  think  he  said  a  word.  Afterwards  he  was 
charged  with  full  responsibility  of  my  case,  and  I  ap- 
peared before  him  no  less  than  fifteen  times.  At  the 
close  of  the  first  of  these  personal  interviews  I  thanked 
Judge  Roudneff  warmly.  Astonished,  he  asked:  "For 
what  do  you  thank  me?"  And  I  answered:  "For  the 
happiness  of  four  whole  hours  of  sitting  in  a  room 
with  a  window,  and  through  it  a  glimpse  of  green 
trees."  He  did  not  reply  except  with  a  kind  and  sym- 
pathetic look,  but  I  knew  that  his  heart  was  touched, 
and  that  he  received  a  new  conception  of  what  life 
meant  to  a  prisoner. 

Better  things  still  were  to  come.  Without  our  being 
aware  of  it  the  revolutionary  mania  had  begun  to  sub- 
side a  little  and  those  men  among  our  guards  who  had 
once  been  clean  and  decent  were  now  getting  back  to 
their  normal  state  of  mind.  Poor  soldiers !  Never 
let  me  forget  that  they  were  not  to  blame  for  the  tor- 
ments they  inflicted  on  me  and  other  prisoners.  It  was 
not  they  who  invented  the  black  calumnies  that  made 
me  seem  a  creature  undeserving  of  mercy  or  any 
clemency.  It  was  not  they  who  fashioned  the  cross 
on  which  I  was  crucified.  The  soldiers  did  only  what 
they  were  incited  to  do  by  men  and  women  far  above 
them,  people  who  conspired  to  crush  me  that  they 
might  crush  the  Empress.  The  soldiers  I  forgive,  but 
I  cannot  yet  forgive  those  others.  The  fate  of  the 
Imperial  Family,  the  ruin  of  Russia,  is  on  their  souls. 
For  what  they  did  they  have  never  shown  any  peni- 
tence,  but   those    rough   soldiers   in   the    fortress    re- 


pented  and  did  what  they  could  in  atonement.     One 

of  the  head  guards  was  a  man,  handsome  In  a  rustic 

sort  of  fashion,  who  at  first  had  treated  me  with  great 

insolence.     One  morning  this  man  opened  my  door, 

hesitated  for  a  moment,  and  then  said  in  a  low  voice: 

"I   am  very  sorry  for  you.      Please  take  this,"   and 

vanished.     "This"  was  an  apple  and  a  small  piece  of 

white    bread.      Another    morning    the    soldier    who 

brought  my  breakfast  spoke  in  a  grumbling  aside  but 

loudly  enough  for  me  to  hear:  "What  idiocy  to  keep  a 

poor  sick  woman  in  this  place."    One  night  the  window 

in  my  cell  door  was  pushed  aside  and  in  a  trembling 

voice  someone  begged  me  to  give  him  my  hand.    Tears 

fell  on  it  while  the  unseen  friend  told  me  that  he  was 

a  boy  from  Samara,  and  that  it  broke  his  heart  to  see 

women  caged  like  beasts  in  such  holes.     He  must  have 

had  a  good  mother,  that  boy.     Perhaps  they  all  had, 

for  it  became  almost  a  habit  for  men  passing  through 

my  corridor  to  slip  me  bits  of  bread,  sausage,  or  sugar. 

The  most  wonderful  piece   of  good  fortune  came 

through  the  soldier  in  charge  of  the  prison  library. 

This  man  visited  my  cell  one  day,  and  after  giving  me 

a  keen  look  which  I  could  not  understand  he  laid  the 

library  catalogue  on  my  cot  and  went  out.     I  had  little 

interest  in  the  dull  books  at  our  disposal,  but  when  one 

sits  hours  in  utter  idleness  he  makes  occupation  out  of 

almost  nothing.     I  opened  the  catalogue  and  turned 

the   leaves.      To   my  astonishment   out   fell   a   folded 

paper.     Cautiously  I  opened  it  and  read  these  words: 

"Dear  Anushka,  I  am  sorry  for  you.     If  you  have  five 

rubles  I  can  get  a  letter  to  your  mother."     For  a  long 

time  after  the  incriminating  paper  had  been  destroyed 


I  sat  trembling  in  doubt  and  foreboding.  I  had  barely 
five  rubles,  and  if  I  gave  them  would  they  be  gambled 
away?  Was  the  letter  a  trap?  Was  it  merely  an 
effort  to  get  me  into  trouble?  I  did  not  know,  but 
on  a  bit  of  blank  paper  left  in  the  catalogue  I  wrote 
with  my  stub  of  a  pencil :  *'I  have  suffered  so  much 
already  that  I  cannot  believe  that  you  wish  to  do  me 
any  more  harm."  Folding  the  five  rubles  and  the 
paper  into  a  tiny  note,  I  tucked  it  into  the  catalogue 
and  waited.  After  a  while  the  librarian  returned,  and 
this  time  I  read  in  his  silent  gaze  that  he  was  asking 
for  my  confidence.  The  next  day  he  came  back  and 
again  left  the  catalogue  on  my  bed.  This  time  I  seized 
it  eagerly  and  shook  its  leaves.  A  letter  from  my 
mother  dropped  out,  a  short  letter,  for  she  had  been 
given  only  a  few  minutes  to  write,  but  I  read  and 
reread  it  until  I  knew  every  word  by  heart. 

Then  began  a  smuggled  correspondence  with  my 
father  and  mother,  they  gladly  giving  money  to  the 
men  who  risked  their  own  liberty  by  carrying  the  let- 
ters back  and  forth.  The  letters  reached  me  in  prison 
books,  in  the  sheets  of  my  bed,  under  the  tin  basin 
which  held  my  food,  and  once  even  in  a  soldier's  sock 
dropped  carelessly  on  the  floor.  In  this  sock  was  con- 
cealed a  note  from  Lili  Dehn,  free  now  and  in  cor- 
respondence with  the  family  at  Tsarskoe  Selo.  There 
was  a  slip  of  paper  enclosed  with  a  tiny  white  flower 
glued  to  it,  and  in  the  Empress's  handwriting:  "God 
keep  you."  Another  precious  souvenir  of  the  Empress 
sent  me  by  my  mother  was  a  little  moonstone  ring  long 
ago  given  me  at  Tsarskoe.  Tearing  a  rag  from  the 
lining  of  my  coat,  I  made  a  bag  for  this  jewel,  and 


begging  a   safety  pin   from  the  Woman,   I  pinned  it 
inside  my  dress.     The  poor  librarian.     This  was  the 
last  favor  he  ever  did  me,  for  falling  under  the  sus- 
picion of  the  Governor,  he  was  abruptly  discharged. 
The  letters,  however,  had  done  me  so  much  good  that 
I  was  in  every  way  better  and  more  cheerful.     I  felt 
in  touch  with  the  world  again.     I  knew  in  a  general 
way  what  was  going  on,  and  though  not  all  the  news 
was  pleasant  it  gave  me  a  sense  of  being  alive  and  not 
altogether  hopeless.     I  knew  now  what  tireless  efforts 
were  being  made  in  my  behalf,  and  I  felt  that  in  the 
end  something  must  come  of  them.     My  parents  had 
done  everything  humanly  possible  to  move  Kerensky 
but  without  any  definite  success.     The  first  appoint- 
ment with  him  was  made  through  his  secretary  Chal- 
pern,  and  although  my  parents  were  naturally  exactly 
on  time  Kerensky  kept  them  waiting  for  two  hours. 
When  at  last  they  were  received  my  parents  were  told 
that  the  Empress  Alexandra  Feodorovna,  Rasputine, 
and  Viroubova  were   responsible   for  the   Revolution 
and    would    have    to    suffer     for    it.      My    parents 
had    heard    this    before,    but    it    was    new    to    them 
to    hear    from    Kerensky   that    he   knew    that   I    had 
had     a     great     many     diamonds     from     the     Arch- 
bishop    Pitirim    and     for    that    and    other    reasons 
nothing  could  be  done  for  me.     Later  he  softened  a 
little  and  ended  the  interview  by  promising  that  my 
whole  affair  would  be  investigated.     My  parents  then 
contrived  an  interview  with  the  minister  of  Justice, 
Pereverzeff.      They  made   two  appointments   in   fact, 
for  the  first  one  Pereverzeff  deliberately  broke,  going 
out  for  the  day  while  my  parents  sat  waiting  in  an 


ante-room.  The  next  time  my  mother  went  to  the 
Ministry  she  was  received  and  was  civilly  treated. 
Pereverzeff  also  promised  that  a  fair  investigation 
would  be  made.  By  this  time  the  Special  Commission 
of  Inquiry  was  sitting"  and  my  mother  m.anaged  to  see 
the  president,  Mouravieff.  She  took  with  her  a  letter 
from  his  brother  to  me  before  the  abdication  of  the 
Emperor.  In  this  letter  I  was  warned  of  plots  against 
me  and  was  advised  to  leave  the  palace.  I  had  re- 
plied to  this  letter,  and  my  mother  had  a  copy  of  my 
reply.  I  had  written  that  I  would  never  leave  the 
Empress.  My  conscience  was  clean  before  God  and 
man  and  I  would  remain  to  the  end  where  God  had 
placed  me.  I  was  astonished  that  a  soldier  should 
advise  me  to  run  away  from  a  battlefield.  Mouravieff 
who  at  first  had  been  very  harsh,  changed  after  reading 
the  letters.  He  even  asked  my  mother  to  allow  him 
to  read  them  to  the  commission.  They  were  signifi- 
cant, he  said.  As  soon  as  my  case  had  been  referred 
to  Judge  Roudneff  he  called  my  parents  to  the  Winter 
Palace,  where  he  had  his  office,  and  talked  with  them, 
asking  a  great  many  questions,  for  nearly  four  hours. 
In  this  examination,  for  it  was  really  that,  my  father 
and  mother  were  allowed  for  the  first  time  to  defend 
me,  to  make  explanations  of  obscure  charges,  to  tell 
my  life  story  to  the  man  who  was  to  judge  me.  No 
one  else  gave  them  such  an  opportunity,  not  even  the 
Georgian  deputy  Cheidze,  then  very  prominent  in  the 
Petrograd  Soviet.  Cheidze  was  kind  and  said  that 
he  would  do  anything  in  his  power  to  help  me  to  get 
justice,  but  I  do  not  think  he  ever  did  anything.  Mem- 
bers of  the  Provisional  Government,  Rodzianko  and 


Lvoff,  to  whom,  while  they  were  still  in  power,  my 
parents  had  written  begging  to  be  received,  never  even 
replied  to  the  letters. 

One  day,  sitting  in  my  cell  and  remembering  what 
had  been  written  me  in  the  smuggled  letters,  another 
wonderful  thing  happened.     In  the  noon  meal  of  fish 
soup  which  I  must  eat  or  starve  I  found  a  large  piece 
of  really  decent  meat.    I  ate  it  greedily,  of  course,  and 
the  next  day  I  ate  another  piece  which  had  mysteriously 
arrived.      I    took    the    first    opportunity    to    ask   the 
Woman  where  the  food  came  from,  and  she  told  me 
that  it  was  a  cook,  a  poor  man  whose  duty  it  was  to 
carry  food  to  our  bastion.     He  too  pitied  me,  she  said, 
and  she  thought  he  might  be  willing  to  run  almost  any 
risk  for  me.     So  almost  at  once  I  was  again  in  corre- 
spondence with  my  parents.     This  cook  did  more  than 
carry  letters,  the  brave  man.     He  brought  me  food, 
chocolates,  clean  clothes,  linen,  stockings,  and  even  a 
fresh  frock.     Growing  bolder,  he  ventured  regularly 
to  take  away  my  soiled  linen  and  to  replace  it  with 
clean  things.     All  during  those  months  in  the  fortress 
I  had  washed  my  linen  and  stockings  in  cold  water, 
without  soap,  and  in  the  night  had  hung  them  up  in 
the  warm  corner  on  a  hook  improvised  from  a  broken 
hairpin.     Of  course  they  were  never  clean,  nor  even, 
when  I  put  them  on,  very  dry,  and  now  they  were  stiff 
with  dirt.     Can  anyone  imagine  what  it  was  to  me  to 
feel  a  clean,  soft,  smooth  chemise  against  my  skin? 

I  am  sure  the  cook  could  never  have  done  so  much 
for  me  had  not  the  guards  closed  their  eyes  to  his 
activities.  They  were  nearly  all  friendly  now,  and 
used  to  talk  with  me  through  the  window  in  my  door. 


In  spring  a  number  of  pigeons  flocked  around  the 
fortress  and  their  constant  sobbing  voices  got  on  my 
nerves.  I  spoke  of  this  to  one  soldier  who  expressed 
surprise.  "I  was  shut  up  here  once,"  he  said,  "under 
the  old  Government,  and  I  didn't  find  the  birds  bad 
at  all.  I  used  to  feed  them  through  the  window." 
"You  had  a  window  in  your  cell,"  I  exclaimed.  "Then 
it  couldn't  have  been  as  bad  as  this."  And  he  assured 
me  that  it  wasn't  as  bad  under  the  Autocracy  as  under 
the  beneficent  Provisional  Government  and  the  Soviet. 
The  prisoners  had  much  better  food  and  they  .could 
exercise  two  hours  a  day  in  the  open. 

Another  prisoner  of  the  Tsar's  government,_  a  non- 
commissioned officer  named  Diki,  who  had  been  very 
harsh  to  me  in  the  beginning,  now  showed  me  kindness. 
Instead   of   robbing   me,    as    of   old,    of   every   little 
privilege,  he  began  to  allow  me  an  extra  five  minutes 
or  so   In  the   courtyard,   he,   too,   saying  that  In   the 
old  days  prisoners  were  better  treated.     Another  of 
the  guards  in  the  courtyards,  a  man  whom  I  had  bit- 
terly hated,  and  with  cause,  told  the  Woman  that  he 
wanted  to  speak  to  me.     Afterwards  while  walking  he 
approached   me   and   I   looked   Into   his   coarse    face, 
deeply  pitted  with  smallpox,  and  listened  In  fear  at 
what  he  might  have  to  say.     Stammeringly  he  told  me 
that  he  had  just  returned  from  a  leave  spent  In  his 
home  In  the  Government  of  Saratoff.       Visiting  his 
sister's  house,  he  was  amazed  to  see,  hanging  under  the 
ikon  in  the  corner  of  the  room,  a  photograph  of  me. 
"What!"    he    had   exclaimed.      "Do   you   have    that 
shameless  woman's  picture  in  your  house?"     Where- 
upon   his   brother-in-law    retorted:    "Never    dare    to 


speak  against  her  who  was  like  a  mother  to  me  for 
two  years  in  Tsarskoe.     I  was  m  her  own  hospital  in 
the  end,  and  it  was  like  Heaven."     The  brother-in-law 
had  charged  the  guard  with  all  kinds  of  messages  to 
me,  telling  him  that  they  prayed  for  me  daily  in  his 
family  and  hoped  for  my  release.     "Forgive  me  for 
being  unjust  to  you,"  said  the  poor  soldier,  and  offered 
me  his  hand.     This  was  the  first  news  I  had  of  my 
hospital,    and    I    learned    with    joy    that    the    Pro- 
visional   Government    had    not    closed    it.      Later    I 
heard    that    the    Government    had    not    only    carried 
on    my    work    but    had    added    five    new    buildings. 
None    of   my   nurses    or   orderlies    had   left,    though 
their  openly  expressed  faith  in  me  might  easily  have 
secured  their   dismissal.       Some   of  the   invalids  had 
petitioned   the    Duma    for   my   release,    and   another 
group,   indignant  because   a   revolutionary  newspaper 
declined    to    publish    their    letter    refuting    the    usual 
slanders  about  me,  wanted  to  leave  the  hospital  long 
enough  to  blow  up  the  office  building!      They  were 
good  at  heart,  those  misguided  Russian  soldiers,  those 
poor  ignorant  children.     I  know  them,  and  whatever 
they  have  been  forced  to  do  in  these  years  of  horror,  I 
still  believe  them  sound  and  good  of  soul.     In  the  last 
days  of  my  imprisonment  in  Peter  and  Paul  the  guards 
did  not  even  lock  my  cell  door.     They  used  to  linger 
and  talk,  and  sometimes  they  brought  paper  and  pen- 
cils that  I  might  make  sketches  of  them  to  take  home. 
I  was  rather  clever  with  a  pencil  in  those  days. 


TIE  prison  had  changed,  and  except  for  an  occa- 
sional   riot    or    a    fight   between    two    drinking 
soldiers,  it  was  almost  peaceful.     For  now  there  was 
a  man  attached  to  the  fortress,  a  man  so  brave  and 
kind,  and  above  all  so  commanding  that  terrors  fled 
before  him — Dr.   Ivan   Manouchine.     The   gratitude 
and  respect  with  which  I  write  his  name  cannot  be  ex- 
pressed in  words.     It  was  on  the  23rd  of  April,  the 
name  day  of  the  Empress,  ever  a  day  of  memories  to 
me,  that  this  good  man  came  into  the  house  of  pain 
where  lay  the  prisoners  of  the  Provisional  Govern- 
ment.   A  fe\y  weeks  before  this  the  soldiers,  gradually 
recovering  from  their  first  revolutionary  blood  lust, 
had  begun  to  revolt  against  the  needless  brutality  of 
the  prison  doctor,  Serebrianikoff,  and  had  finally  sent  in 
to  the  all  powerful  Kerensky  a  request  for  his  demis- 
sion.    In  those  days  Kerensky,  whose  ambition  to  be 
at  the  head  of  the  government  was  maturing,  made  a 
special  point  of  granting  soldiers'   petitions,   and  he 
really  consented  to  replace  Serebrianikoff  with  a  physi- 
cian of  reputation.     From  the  point  of  view  of  the 
Duma  Dr.  Manouchine  was  entirely  a  safe  man  to  be 
appointed.     He  was  a  republican  in  politics,  and  he 
conformed  to  the  popular  superstition  of  "dark  forces" 
surrounding  the  court.     But  what  the  Duma  did  not 

know  about  Dr.  Manouchine  was  that  he  had  a  heart 



of  gold  and  a  mind  that  was  ruled  not  by  any  political 
party  but  by  principles  of  right  and  justice. 

When  the  new  prison  doctor  first  came  into  my  cell, 
accompanied  by  the  retiring  man  looking  frightened 
and  ill  at  ease,  I  was  lying  on  my  cot  in  a  mood  of  un- 
usual rebellion.  In  a  quiet,  professional  voice  he  asked 
me  how  I  felt,  and  when  he  examined  my  poor  chest 
and  saw  it  black  and  blue  and  swollen  from  the  clumsy 
cupping  it  had  received,  he  frowned  with  displeasure. 
He  gave  some  quick  directions  for  my  relief  and  in  a 
gentle  tone  assured  me  that  he  intended  to  visit  the 
bastion  every  day.  It  was  the  first  time  in  many  long 
weeks  that  I  had  been  spoken  to  by  the  type  of  man  we 
call  a  gentleman,  and  after  the  door  closed  behind  him 
something  In  my  frozen  heart  seemed  to  melt  like 
icicles  in  the  sun.  Almost  with  the  faith  of  childhood 
I  fell  on  my  knees  and  prayed,  and  after  that  I  lay 
down  and  slept  for  several  hours. 

Every  day  soon  after  the  booming  of  the  noonday 
gun  he  came  and  every  one  among  us  stood  up  as 
close  as  possible  to  the  cell  doors,  waiting  to  catch 
the  first  sound  of  his  voice  as  he  came  down  the  cor- 
ridor. At  every  door  he  stopped  and  asked  the  health 
of  the  prisoner.  To  him  they  were  not  prisoners  but 
patients,  and  he  treated  them  with  all  the  skill  and, 
above  all,  the  courtesy  he  would  have  accorded  the 
richest  and  most  powerful  of  his  patients.  He  exam- 
ined our  food  and  pronounced  it  entirely  unsuited 
to  our  needs.  He  did  not  stop  there,  but  in  the  end 
succeeded  in  greatly  improving  the  ration  and  supple- 
menting it  for  the  sick  with  milk  and  eggs.  How  he 
did  it  in  the  Russia  of  those  days  I  cannot  imagine.     I 


only  know  that  Dr.  Manouchine  had  a  will  of  steel, 
and  against  that  will  and  the  staunch  uprightness  of 
his  character  malice  and  fanaticism  broke  like  waves 
against  a  rock.  Little  by  little  Dr.  Manouchine  in- 
stituted other  reforms.  The  prisoners  now  received 
at  least  a  part  of  the  money  furnished  by  their  friends 
outside,  and  once  a  week  the  non-commissioned  officer 
Diki  went  through  the  prison  answering  requests  for 
such  necessities  as  soap,  tooth  powder,  and  paper  on 
which  petitions  to  the  Governor  of  the  fortress  might 
be  written.  Often  when  a  prisoner  lacked  money  to 
pay  for  these  things  the  doctor  supplied  it  out  of  .his 
own  pocket. 

Meanwhile  my  examinations  under  the  stern  but  just 
commissioner  Roudneff  were  going  on.  Weary  under 
the  long  and  apparently  pointless  inquisition,  I  asked 
Dr.  Manouchine  one  day  how  much  longer  he  thought 
they  intended  to  torment  me.  His  reply  was  grave. 
"Not  long,  I  think.  But  before  it  Is  over  you  may 
have  to  undergo  a  still  more  trying  ordeal."  A  few 
day  later  he  came  to  my  cell  alone;  that  Is,  he  resolutely 
closed  the  door  between  us  and  his  usual  escort  of 
soldiers,  and  told  me  in  his  kindest  manner  that  the 
Special  Commission  of  Inquiry  had  almost  concluded 
that  the  charges  against  me  were  without  foundation. 
One  more  proof,  however,  was  necessary,  a  physician's 
sworn  statement  that  the  hideous  accusations  of  vice 
made  by  enemies  of  the  Emperor  and  Empress  and 
their  closest  friends  were  false.  Would  I,  for  my  own 
sake,  for  the  sake  of  the  Imperial  Family,  submit  to  a 
medical  examination?  Without  at  all  knowing  what 
was  implied  I  gave  an  instant  but  rather  frightened 


consent  to  any  examination  he  thought  necessary.  .  .  . 
It  was  a  terrible  ordeal  for  a  woman  to  live  through. 
Most  of  the  questions  asked  me  were  of  a  nature  which 
appalled  me,  and  yet  were  beyond  my  understanding. 
I  cannot  here  repeat  even  the  least  of  them,  I  can  only 
say  that  they  opened  up  to  me  an  abyss  of  wickedness 
and  sin  which  I  had  not  dreamed  existed  in  the  human 
soul.  ...  At  the  end  of  an  hour — or  many  hours — 
of  trial,  I  lay  on  my  bed,  hands  clasped  over  my  eyes, 
spent,  exhausted,  utterly  incapable  of  speech.  Up  to 
the  very  end  Dr.  Manouchine's  manner  had  been  that 
of  a  physician,  but  now  that  it  was  over  it  was  a  friend 
beyond  anything  Human  and  sympathetic  who  laid  his 
hand  on  my  quivering  shoulder  and  said:  "This  clears 
you  absolutely.     They  will  take  my  word  for  it." 

Towards  the  end  of  May,  a  hot  and  wearying  sea- 
son, the  fortress  was  visited  by  the  head  of  the  Pro- 
visional Government's  Commission  of  Inquiry,  a  pom- 
pous man,  yet  in  his  cautious  way,  rather  kindly.  Paus- 
ing before  my  cell,  he  told  me  that  no  crime  had  been 
fastened  upon  me  and  that  I  might  hope  soon  to  be 
transferred  to  a  better  place.  Hope  gave  me  new  life 
momentarily,  but  as  the  days  dragged  on  my  hope  gave 
way  to  bitter  unbelief.  My  health  always  since  my 
arrest  indifferent,  now  began  to  decline  and  I  could  see 
that  the  doctor  was  seriously  concerned  for  me.  He 
came  to  the  prison  only  four  times  a  week  now,  and 
what  ages  seemed  to  elapse  between  his  visits.  All  I 
had  left  of  courage  his  voice  and  ministrations  gave 

One  hot  June  day  I  was  aroused  from  my  sick 
lethargy  by  the  tramping  of  heavy  boots  on  the  stones 


of  the  corridor.  The  heavy  cell  door  swung  open  and 
I  saw  a  crowd  of  strange  men,  several  of  whom  un- 
ceremoniously invaded  my  cell  and  began  an  examina- 
tion of  my  poor  effects.  Frightened,  I  watched  them 
as  they  disdainfully  picked  up  and  threw  aside  the  few 
rags  a  prisoner  is  allowed,  but  my  fears  were  allayed 
when  I  saw  in  the  background  the  tall  figure  of  the 
doctor.  "Do  not  be  afraid,  Anna  Alexandrovna,"  he 
said.  "This  is  only  a  committee  of  revision  of  prison- 
ers." Later  I  heard  him  say  to  the  committee :  "This 
woman  may  have  only  a  few  days  to  live.  If  you  are 
willing  you  may  take  on  yourselves  the  responsibility 
of  her  death.    As  a  physician  I  refuse  to  do  so." 

The  next  day  he  whispered  to  me  that  he  was  con- 
fident that  I  would  be  taken  away,  but  that  my  release 
might  be  delayed  a  little  because  of  renewed  riots 
among  the  prison  guards.  He  did  not  know  where  I 
was  to  be  taken,  and  I  feared  it  would  be  the  Women's 
Prison,  which  the  Woman  had  told  me  was  almost  as 
bad  as  the  Troubetskoy  Bastion.  But  soon  I  was  re- 
lieved of  that  nightmare,  for  the  doctor  came  again 
bringing  me  the  good  news  that  I  should  probably  be 
taken  to  the  House  of  Detention  in  a  pleasant  neigh- 
borhood on  the  other  side  o!  the  river.  In  groups  the 
friendly  soldiers  came  to  say  good-bye  and  to  assure 
me  that  even  should  the  mutinous  guards  oppose  my 
going  they  would  see  to  it  that  I  got  safely  way.  Days 
went  by,  sleepless  nights,  and  still  no  order  of  release 
arrived.  I  became  almost  hysterical  with  suspense.  I 
gave  way  to  dreadful  fits  of  weeping  until  even  the 
doctor  grew  stern  and  bade  me  control  myself.  I  felt 
like  a  mouse  under  the  teasing  claws  of  a  cat,  and 


control  was  difficult  even  after  I  learned  that  the  doctor 
had  persuaded  some  members  of  the  central  committee 
of  the  Petrograd  Soviet  to  visit  the  fortress  and  to 
reason  with  the  mutinous  guards. 

Almost  the  last  day  of  June,  at  six  in  the  evening,  I 
was  standing  barefooted  and  half  dressed  against  the 
cool,  wet  wall  of  my  cell  thinking  of  my  mother  who, 
the-day  before,  had  visited  me.  Her  face  was  brighter 
than  usual  and  she  had  said  to  me:  "The  next  time 
we  meet  it  may  be  in  better  circumstances."  At  the 
moment  my  door  opened  and  the  hated  Chkoni  ap- 
peared. "Well,"  he  said,  with  his  usual  sneer,  "did 
you  have  hysterics  after  seeing  your  mother?"  "Cer- 
tainly not,"  I  replied  coldly.  "No?"  he  commented, 
"I  thought  you  might  because  to-morrow  or  the  next 
day  they  may  take  you  away."  I  fell  against  the  wall 
too  overcome  to  speak,  too  blind  to  see  the  hands  of 
the  guard  pressing  my  limp  hand  in  congratulation.  To- 
morrow or  next  day  !  The  words  repeated  themselves 
in  my  brain  countless  times.  But  I  was  not  even  to 
wait  until  to-morrow,  though  Chkoni  evidently  wished 
me  to  think  so.  I  heard  the  voice  of  the  younger  and 
less  familiar  wardress  :  "Dress  yourself  quickly.  The 
doctor  is  bringing  a  deputation  from  the  Soviet."  I 
had  nothing  to  put  on  except  my  ragged  shoes  and  a 
torn  gray  woolen  jacket,  but  these  I  rapidly  seized 
while  the  wardress  picked  up  and  made  a  bundle  of  my 
small  belongings.  On  the  opposite  wall  I  heard  brave 
Mme.  Soukhomlinoff  rapping  out  a  farewell  message 
to  which  I  responded  as  well  as  I  could.  Then  the 
deputation  arrived,  and  the  doctor.  There  was  some 
confused  talk.  ...  I  cannot  remember  a  word.  .  .  . 


I  felt  myself  picked  up  and  carried  down  the  winding 
corridors.  The  great  door  of  the  bastion  rolled  open 
and  we  passed  out  into  the  cool,  delicious  evening  air. 
There  was  a  motor  car  into  which  I  was  lifted,  another 
car  into  which  the  doctor  climbed,  there  were  soldiers, 
some  friendly,  some  seemingly  determined  that  the 
cars  should  not  leave  the  courtyard.  I  remember  very 
little  until  we  drove  out  of  the  gates  and  over  the 
Troizky  Bridge.  The  wind,  the  brilliant  twilight,  the 
sight  of  water  and  the  blue  sky,  blinded  me  so  that  I 
had  to  cover  my  face  with  both  hands. 

Within  a  short  time  the  cars  stopped  at  the  Deten- 
tion House  in  the  Fourshkatskaia  Ulitza,  and  I  was 
carried  into  the  office  of  the  commissioner.  He  was 
an  officer,  rather  short  in  stature,  but  dignified  and  effi- 
cient. Offering  me  his  hand,  he  asked  me  if  I  would  be 
seated  while  he  made  out  the  necessary  papers.  I  had 
time  to  see  that  the  House  of  Detention  promised  to  be 
quite  different  from  a  prison.  Indeed  the  soldiers  of 
this  house  would  not  even  permit  the  entrance  of  the 
fortress  guards  who  had  come  with  me.  As  if  he 
divined  that  I  was  too  weak  to  walk  upstairs  the  com- 
missioner gave  orders  that  I  was  to  be  carried.  It 
was  into  a  large,  light,  clean  room  that  they  took  me, 
and  at  my  exclamation  of  joy  at  sight  of  windows  the 
soldiers  laughed  heartily.  But  the  doctor  silenced 
them.  "Go,"  he  said,  "see  that  her  parents  are  tele- 
phoned, and  send  a  woman  to  bathe  and  dress  her." 
His  own  arms  lifted  me  from  the  chair  on  which  I  half 
sat,  half  lay.  On  a  bed  softer  and  cooler  than  even 
existed  In  my  memory  he  laid  me,  said  good  night,  and 
gently  left  the  room. 


I  SPENT  a  happy  and  peaceful  month  in  the  Deten- 
tion House,  the  only  disturbing  event  being  the  so- 
called  July  Revolution,  the  first  serious  attempt  of 
Lenine's  party  to  seize  the  government.  The  Soviet 
already  transcended  in  power  the  old  Provisional  Gov- 
ernment, most  of  whose  original  members  had  by  this 
time  disappeared  from  politics.  Kerensky  was  pre- 
mier, nominally,  but  only  because  a  remnant  of  the 
Russian  Army  still  resisted  the  separate  peace  propa- 
ganda and  remained  on  duty  at  the  front. 

Persons  in  the  Detention  House  were  prisoners  in 
the  sense  that  they  were  under  guard  and  were  not 
allowed  to  leave  the  house.  The  guards  were  com- 
placent, though,  and  visiting  between  the  rooms  was 
permitted.  I  soon  found  that  I  was  the  only  woman  in 
the  place,  and  that  some  of  the  men  there  had  suffered 
greater  tortures  than  I.  There  were  between  eighty 
and  ninety  officers,  almost  the  last  remnant  of  the 
garrison  of  Kronstadt  where  in  the  first  days  of  the 
Revolution  the  soldiers  went  quite  mad  and  murdered, 
in  ways  too  horrible  to  relate,  a  great  many  officers, 
and  even  young  naval  cadets  against  whom  they  could 
have  had  no  possible  grudge.  The  officers  in  the  De- 
tention House  were  in  a  sad  state  of  body  and  mind. 
We  talked  together  sometimes  in  the  dining  room,  and 
learning  that  they  longed  for  the  consolation  of  Holy 



Communion,  I  remembered  that  my  hospital  in 
Tsarskoe  Selo  possessed  a  movable  altar  and  holy 
vessels.  With  the  consent  of  Nadjaroff,  commandant 
of  the  Detention  House,  the  altar  and  my  own  priest 
were  brought  from  Tsarskoe  and  the  sacred  ceremony 
was  twice  celebrated,  the  last  time  on  July  29,  my 

I  ought  to  say  of  the  commandant  Nadjaroff  that  he 
was  an  excellent  man,  kind  to  the  prisoners,  and  con- 
scientious in  his  work.  The  poor  man  had  one  fatal 
weakness,  gambling.  So  strong  a  hold  had  this  vice 
on  an  otherwise  good  man  that  when  his  money  ran 
short  he  was  not  above  borrowing  and  even  begging 
from  the  prisoners  and  their  friends.  It  seems  almost 
too  bad  to  record  this  blot  on  the  character  of  a  man 
who  was  kind  and  courteous  to  me,  but  I  am  trying  to 
give  the  psychology  as  well  as  to  portray  the  events  of 
the  Russian  Revolution,  and  I  must  emphasize  the  fact 
that  it  was  the  weakness  and  self-indulgence  of  the 
people  themselves  that  made  the  Revolution  and  its 
frightful  aftermath  possible. 

From  my  first  day  in  the  Detention  House  I  began 
to  recover  my  health  and  my  self-control.  My  win- 
dows were  not  barred,  and  through  the  open  casement 
I  feasted  my  eyes  on  the  beauty  of  grass  and  trees,  on 
the  familiar  little  church  of  Sts.  Kosma  and  Damlan 
which  stood  almost  opposite,  and,  strangest  of  all  to 
me,  of  people  walking  or  driving  through  the  streets 
below.  It  took  a  few  days  for  me  to  get  used  to  a 
normal  state  of  life,  and  at  first,  when  night  grew  near, 
I  was  seized  with  such  nervousness  that  they  had  to  let 
a  maid  sleep  in  the  room  with  me.    As  the  fresh  air  and 


sunshine  began  to  bring  color  to  my  face  and  I  felt 
strength  returning  to  my  limbs  I  forgot  my  fears,  and 
became  something  like  the  woman  I  had  been  before  I 
was  caged  like  a  beast  in  the  Fortress  of  Peter  and 
Paul.  Visitors  were  admitted  both  morning  and  after- 
noon, and  I  had  the  happiness  of  talking  privately 
with  my  father  and  mother  and  with  friends  who  still 
remained  faithful.  They  brought  me  clothes,  toilet 
articles,  books,  flowers,  writing  materials,  and,  best  of 
all,  news  of  what  had  happened  during  the  months  of 
my  imprisonment.  I  learned  of  the  rapid  disintegra- 
tion of  the  army  under  the  weak  and  ineffectual  Pro- 
visional Government,  the  tottering  state  of  Kerensky's 
regime,  and  the  threatening  domination  of  the  Soviets. 
What  was  in  store  for  Russia  no  one  knew,  happily  for 
Russians.  Of  the  fall  of  the  Soviets  and  the  rise  of 
Bolshevism  no  one  yet  had  any  premonition.  The 
radical  element  was  already  in  control,  and  there  was  a 
great  deal  of  threatening  talk  of  shooting  the  Em- 
peror. However,  the  Imperial  Family  was  still  alive 
and  in  Tsarskoe  Selo,  which  was  as  much  as  I  had 
dared  to  hope. 

Of  the  events  of  the  July  Revolution,  the  forerunner 
of  the  Bolshevist  triumph  of  November,  19 17,  I  know 
rather  less  than  others  who  were  at  full  liberty  during 
that  terrible  week.  It  was  about  the  i8th  of  the 
month,  a  brilliant  summer  day,  when  I  was  startled  by 
long-continued  shouting  and  bellowing  of  soldiers  in  a 
caserne  not  far  from  the  house.  In  great  excitement 
the  men  were  running  in  and  out  of  the  yard  calling  on 
the  tovarishi  to  arm  themselves  and  join  the  uprising. 
As  if  by  magic  the  streets  filled  with  rough-looking 


people,  singing  wild  songs,  waving  their  arms,  and 
forming  processions  behind  huge  scarlet  banners  on 
which  I  could  read  such  inscriptions  as  "Down  with  the 
War!"  "Down  with  the  Provisional  Government!" 
An  endless  line  of  these  paraders  passed  and  repassed, 
dirty,  disorderly  soldiers,  equally  dirty  factory  workers, 
yelling  like  crazed  animals.  Once  in  a  while  a  gray 
motor  truck  would  dash  through  the  street,  laden  with 
shouting  men  and  boys,  rifles,  and  machine  guns.  In 
the  distance  we  could  hear  shots  and  the  ripping  noise 
of  the  machine  guns. 

Of  course  we  were  all  horribly  frightened,  especially 
the  officers  from  Kronstadt,  who  knew  that  in  case  of 
invasion  not  one  of  them  would  be  left  alive.  We 
were  all  advised  to  leave  our  rooms  and  take  refuge  in 
the  corridors,  as  at  any  time  the  rioters  might  begin 
firing  through  the  windows.  But  we  were  not  out  of 
danger  even  there  because  many  of  the  guards  openly 
sympathized  with  the  rioters,  and  the  head  guard  was 
so  jubilant  over  the  course  of  events  that  he  went 
around  boasting  that  he  was  quite  prepared  to  sur- 
render the  house  and  all  its  inmates  at  the  first  demand 
of  the  Revolutionists.  Some  of  the  guards  were  bet- 
ter than  this  man,  and  one  of  them,  a  wearer  of  the  St. 
George  cross,  said  that  in  case  of  trouble  he  would  try 
to  get  me  to  his  sister's  house,  where  I  would  be  per- 
fectly safe.  For  two  nights  nobody  slept  or  even 
undressed.  In  the  room  next  to  mine  was  lodged  old 
General  Belaieff,  former  War  Minister,  whom  impris- 
onment had  left  a  sad  wreck.  He,  like  the  other 
officers,  fully  expected  death,  and  I  found  myself  in  the 
novel  role  of  a  cool  and  collected  comforter.     I,  who 










S  5. 















A  Photograph   Taken   Shortly  after  Her   Release   from   the   Fortress  of 
Peter   and    Paul,    Petrograd. 


had  lately  been  afraid  to  sleep  in  a  room  by  myself, 
now  went  from  one  old  soldier  to  another  urging  them 
to  keep  up  hope.  The  days  passed,  and  the  firing  came 
no  nearer,  and  within  a  week  troops  summoned  from 
the  front  took  possession  of  the  city. 

My  examination  under  the  High  Commissioner 
Roudneff  not  being  entirely  finished,  he  came  once  or 
twice  to  the  Detention  House  bringing  with  him  on 
one  occasion  Korinsky,  Procurator  of  Petrograd,  a 
courteous  gentleman,  who  at  parting  expressed  a  hope 
that  I  would  soon  be  free.  A  few  days  later,  August 
5,  if  I  remember  correctly,  M.  Korinsky  himself  tele- 
phoned that  if  my  parents  would  call  at  his  office  they 
would  be  given  my  warrant  of  release.  Alas,  my  par- 
ents happened  to  be  In  Terloke  that  day,  but  too 
impatient  to  wait  until  the  morrow  I  telephoned  my 
uncle  Lachkereff,  who  immediately  hastened  to  the 
Procurator's  office  for  the  coveted  warrant.  Trem- 
bling with  excitement,  I  stood  at  my  window  with 
several  of  my  good  friends  waiting  the  result  of  his 
errand.  At  six  o'clock  we  heard  a  drosky  driven  at 
great  speed  over  the  cobbles,  and  as  it  came  in  sight  we 
saw  my  uncle  standing  up  and  wildly  waving  the  papers 
in  his  hand,  "Free!"  he  called  out.  "Anna  Alex- 
androvna,  you  are  free !"  The  rest  is  confusion  in 
my  mind.  There  were  laughter  and  sobs.  People 
kissed  and  embraced  me.  I  was  In  the  drosky  driving 
through  Petrograd  streets.  I  was  In  my  uncle's  house. 
The  tea  table  was  spread.     It  was  like  a  dream. 

After  prison  one  gets  used  to  freedom  by  slow  de- 
grees. It  seems  strange  at  first  to  be  allowed  to  move 
about  freely,  to  go  to  church,  to  walk,  to  drive,  to  go 


wherever  one  desires,  through  woods,  along  leafy 
country  roads.  Not  that  I  was  entirely  free  to  go 
where  I  liked.  I  could  not  safely  go  to  Tsarskoe  Selo, 
even  to  my  own  house,  which  after  my  arrest  had  been 
taken  over  by  the  police,,  and  not  only  ransacked  for 
evidence  against  me,  but  looted  of  every  valuable.  It 
was  my  faithful  old  servant  Berchik  who  gave  me  the 
details  of  the  search.  He,  honest  soul,  who  had  been 
forty-five  years  in  the  service  of  my  family,  was  offered 
ten  thousand  rubles  if  he  would  testify  against  the  Em- 
press and  myself.  On  his  indignant  refusal  the  police 
arrested  him,  while  they  tore  up  the  carpets  and  even' 
the  floors  of  my  rooms,  demanding  of  Berchik  the 
whereabouts  of  secret  passages  to  the  palace,  the 
private  telegraph  and  telephone  wires  to  Berlin,  my 
hidden  writing  desks,  and  all  sorts  of  nonsense.  Espe- 
cially were  they  anxious  to  discover  my  wine  cellar,  and 
when  they  found  that  I  possessed  none  they  were  angry 
indeed.  They  took  possession  of  all  the  letters  and 
papers  they  could  find,  and  at  the  end  of  the  search 
ordered  my  cook  to  prepare  them  an  elaborate  supper. 
Then  they  left  taking  with  them  the  silverware. 

If  I  could  not  visit  Tsarskoe  and  those  whom  I  loved 
and  longed  to  see,  I  could  at  least,  and  I  did,  hear  from 
the  Empress.  Just  before  the  family  were  sent  to 
their  exile  one  of  the  maids  smuggled  out  a  letter  which 
reached  me  safely  and  which  I  quote  here,  suppressing 
only  the  most  intimate  and  affectionate  passages. 

"I  cannot  write  much,"  the  letter  began,  "my  heart  is  too 
full.  I  love  you,  we  love  you,  thank  you,  bless  you,  kiss  the 
wound  on  your  forehead.  ...  I  cannot  find  words.  ...  I 
know  what  vi^ill  be  your  anguish  with  this  great  distance  be- 


tween  us.  They  do  not  tell  us  where  we  go  (we  shall  learn 
only  on  the  train),  nor  for  how  long,  but  we  think  it  is  where 
you  were  last"  (Tobolsk),  "Beloved,  the  misery  of  leaving! 
Everything  packed  up,  empty  rooms,  such  pain,  the  home  of 
twenty-three  years.  Yet  you  have  suffered  far  more.  Fare- 
well. Somehow  let  me  know  you  received  this.  We  prayed 
long  before  the  Virgin  of  Znomenia,  and  I  remembered  the 
last  time  it  was  on  your  bed.  My  heart  and  soul  are  torn  to 
go  so  far  from  home  and  from  you.  To  be  for  months  without 
news  is  terrible.  But  God  is  merciful.  He  won't  forsake  you, 
and  will  bring  us  together  again  in  sunny  times.  I  fully  be- 
leve  It. 

With  the  letter  the  Empress  sent  me  a  box  of  my 
jewels  which  she  had  carefully  guarded,  and  I  heard  a 
fairly  full  account  of  how  the  summer  had  been  spent. 
For  a  time  she  and  the  Emperor  had  been  kept  apart, 
being  allowed  to  speak  to  each  other  only  at  table  and 
in  the  presence  of  guards.  Revolutionary  agents  tried 
every  possible  means  of  incriminating  the  Empress, 
whom  they  hated  even  more  than  the  Emperor,  but 
finally  failing  in  their  efforts  they  allowed  the  family 
to  be  together  once  more.  The  day  after  they  were 
sent  to  Siberia  the  maid  visited  me  again  with  the  storyi 
of  their  departure.  Kerensky  personally  arranged 
every  detail,  and  intruded  his  presence  for  hours  to- 
gether on  the  unhappy  family.  Under  his  orders 
everything  was  made  ready  for  a  midnight  journey  but 
actually  they  did  not  leave  the  palace  until  six  o'clock 
in  the  morning.  All  night  the  prisoners  sat  in  their 
traveling  clothes  and  wraps  in  the  round  hall  of  the 
palace.  At  five  a  courageous  servant  brought  them 
fresh  tea,  which  gave  them  a  little  comfort,  especially 


Alexei,  who  stood  the  night  badly.  They  drove  away 
from  the  palace  with  perfect  serenity  as  if  going  on  a 
holiday  to  Finland  or  the  Crimea.  Even  the  Revolu- 
tionary newspapers,  with  grudging  admiration,  had  to 
admit  this. 

A  day  or  two  later  Mr.  Gibbs,  Alexei's  English 
tutor,  came  to  see  me,  and  he  told  me  that  although  he 
was  not  permitted  to  accompany  the  Imperial  Family 
with  the  other  tutors,  M.  Gilliard  and  M.  Petroff,  he 
intended  to  follow  them  to  Tobolsk.  He  took  a 
photograph  of  me  for  the  Empress,  who  was  anxious 
to  see  for  herself  if  the  long  imprisonment  had  im- 
paired my  health.  As  a  matter  of  fact  I  was  not  very 
well  just  then,  as  I  had  something  very  like  jaundice,  so 
I  am  afraid  my  photograph  was  none  too  reassuring. 
At  this  time  I  was  staying  in  the  home  of  my  sister's 
husband  who  was  attached  to  the  British  Military 
Commission  in  Petrograd.  It  was  a  cool  and  comfort- 
able apartment,  and  I  should  have  been  contented  to 
stay  on  indefinitely.  But  one  day  my  brother-in-law, 
in  deep  embarrassment,  showed  me  a  letter  from  his 
sister,  who  was  expected  on  a  visit.  This  lady  ex- 
pressed herself  unwilling  to  live  under  the  same  roof 
with  a  person  as  notorious  as  myself,  and  I,  equally 
unwilling  to  associate  with  her,  moved  back  to  my 
uncle's  hospitable  home.  But  even  there  I  found  no 
serenity.  I  had  been  acquitted  of  all  the  crimes 
charged  against  me  by  the  Provisional  Government,  ^ 
but  now  the  Government  of  Kerensky  found  new  ac- 
cusations to  make  of  me.  This  time  I  was  a  counter- 
Revolutionist,   and   as   papers   served   on   me   in   the 

*See  Appendix  B. 


middle  of  the  night  of  August  24  (Russian)  ordered, 
I  had  to  leave  for  an  unknown  destination  withiit 
twenty-four  hours.  As  I  was  without  money  and  was 
really  in  need  of  a  physician's  care,  my  relatives  began 
at  once  to  petition  every  authority  for  a  delay  of  at 
least  twenty-four  hours  more.  This  was  finally  al- 
lowed, but  two  soldiers  were  immediately  placed  before 
my  door  and  I  was  a  prisoner  in  my  uncle's  apartment. 
Meanwhile  my  parents  and  friends  continued  to  make 
every  preparation  for  my  comfort  in  exile,  and  two  of 
my  hospital  staff,  the  director  and  a  nurse,  volunteered 
to  go  with  me.  The  night  before  I  left  my  poor 
parents  stayed  with  me,  none  of  us  going  to  bed.  Very 
early  on  a  rainy  morning  two  motor  cars  filled  with 
police  came  for  us.  They  were  kind  enough  to  let  my 
parents  accompany  me  almost  to  the  Finnish  side,  and 
they  explained  that  they  had  come  so  early  because 
they  feared  street  demonstrations. 

At  the  station  we  found  a  miscellaneous  company  of 
alleged  counter-Revolutionists  including  a  few  old  ac- 
quaintances. Among  these  was  former  detective 
Manouiloff,  a  tall  officer  named  Groten,  the  editor, 
Tanchevsky,  and  the  curious  little  Siberian  doctor 
Badmieff,  with  his  equally  curious  wife  and  child  and  a 
young  maid  named  Erika  whom  I  came  to  know  very 
well.  Badmieff  was  the  herb  doctor  who,  it  will  be 
remembered,  was  supposed  to  purvey  the  deadly 
poisons  which  I  was  alleged  to  feed  to  the  Tsarevitch. 
He  was  a  small,  round,  shriveled  man,  excessively  old — 
over  a  hundred,  they  said — and  in  appearance  re- 
sembled a  quaint  carved  Buddha  out  of  an  antiquarian 
shop.     He  had  the  smallest,  blackest  eyes  imaginable, 


set  in  a  face  yellow  and  wrinkled,  and  his  long,  scraggly 
beard  was  as  white  as  cotton.  His  wife,  many  years 
his  junior,  and  his  funny  little  child,  Aida,  were  as 
Mongolian  in  appearance  as  himself.  The  maid, 
Erika,  a  girl  of  about  eighteen,  was  not  uncomely  with 
her  bright  eyes  and  short,  curly  hair.  All  the  "coun- 
ter-Revolutionists" were  herded  together  in  one  car- 
riage, the  one  farthest  from  the  engine,  and  in  charge 
of  us  was  a  Jewish  official  of  the  Kerensky  Govern- 
ment. At  Terioke  I  parted  with  my  father  and 
mother,  the  train  moving  on  quickly  to  the  Finnish 
town  of  Belieovstrov.  Here  we  were  met  by  an 
enormous  crowd  of  soldiers  and  working  people,  all 
hostile,  demanding  to  see  the  dangerous  counter-Revo- 
lutionists. Especially  they  demanded  to  see  me,  but 
I  shrank  back  in  my  seat,  fearing  every  moment  that 
the  shower  of  stones  against  the  carriage  would  break 
the  windows.  But  quickly  the  conductor's  whistle  was 
blown  and  the  train  moved  beyond  the  reach  of  the 

Worse  was  to  come.  When  we  reached  Rikimeaki 
we  found  waiting  us  a  larger  and  a  still  more  furious 
crowd.  Our  carriage  was  unfastened  from  the  train 
and  the  mob  rushed  in  yelling  that  we  must  all  be  given 
up  and  killed.  "Give  us  the  Grand  Dukes!"  they 
shouted.  "Give  us  Gourko!"  I  sat  with  my  face 
buried  in  the  shoulder  of  my  nursing  sister  fearing  that 
my  end  had  come.  My  fears  were  not  imaginary,  for 
several  ruffians  pitched  on  me  shouting  that  they  had 
found  Gourko  in  women's  clothes.  Frantically  the 
sister  explained  that  I  was  not  General  Gourko  but 
only  a  woman  ill  and  lame.     Refusing  to  believe  her, 


they  demanded  that  I  be  stripped,  and  I  have  no  doubt 
that  this  would  have  happened  had  not  a  motor  car 
opportunely  dashed  up  carrying  a  sailor  deputation 
from  the  Helsingfors  Soviet.  These  men  pushed  their 
way  into  the  carriage,  and  without  ceremony  booted 
the  invaders  out.  One  man,  a  tall,  slender  youth 
named  Antonoff,  made  a  speech  at  the  top  of  his  voice, 
commanding  the  mob  to  disperse  and  to  leave  things 
in  the  hands  of  the  Soviet.  So  authoritatively  did  he 
speak  that  the  crowd  obeyed  him  and  allowed  our  car- 
riage to  be  attached  to  another  train  bound  for  Hel- 
singfors. Antonoff  remained  with  us,  and  in  the 
friendliest  fashion  sat  down  beside  me  and  bade  me  to 
be  of  good  cheer.  He  did  not  know  why  we  had  been 
sent  away  from  Petrograd,  but  the  Soviet  at  Helsing- 
fors, of  which  he  was  a  member,  had  received  a  tele- 
gram, he  thought  directly  from  Kerensky,  saying  that 
we  were  being  sent  on,  and  when  we  arrived  were  to  be 
placed  under  arrest.  Doubtless  there  would  be  ex- 
planations, and  after  that  we  would  surely  be  released. 
To  my  mind  the  thing  seemed  not  quite  so  simple. 
Kerensky  had  sent  us  from  Petrograd,  but  not  to  be 
imprisoned  in  Helsingfors.  What  he  desired  was  that 
the  mobs,  notified  of  our  arrival  from  his  office,  would 
kill  us  before  we  ever  reached  Helsingfors  at  all.  No 
doubt  he  hoped  at  the  same  time  to  dispose  of  General 
Gourko  and  the  Grand  Dukes  left  in  Petrograd.  But 
Gourko  was  too  clever  for  Kerensky,  and  made  good 
his  escape  to  Archangel,  where  he  took  refuge  with  the 
British  Occupational  Force.  As  for  the  Grand  Dukes, 
they  were,  for  some  reason,  at  this  time  left  undisturbed 
by  the  Revolutionists. 


It  was  night  when  we  reached  Helsingfors  and  we 
found  the  station  practically  deserted.  The  main 
body  of  the  prisoners  were  taken  away  into  the  dark- 
ness, but  Antonoff  said  that  I  and  the  nurse  should 
spend  the  night  in  a  hospital  adjoining  the  station. 
We  climbed  several  flights  of  steep  stairs  and  passed 
through  wards  crowded  with  blue-gowned  sick  soldiers 
and  sailors,  not  one  of  whom  offered  us  the  slightest 
rudeness.  A  skilled  Finnish  nurse  undressed  me  and 
put  me  to  bed,  but  unhappily  not  for  long.  Scarcely 
had  I  composed  myself  to  sleep  when  the  door  opened, 
the  lights  flashed  up,  and  Antonoff,  red  and  very  angry, 
entered  the  room.  He  had  gone  to  the  Soviet  authori- 
ties, confident  that  he  could  persuade  them  to  let  me 
remain  in  the  hospital,  at  least  until  word  came  from 
Petrograd  of  our  exact  status.  But  they  refused  his 
request  and  ordered  him  to  take  me  at  once  to  the  ship 
on  which  the  other  prisoners  were  confined.  There 
being  no  appeal  I  dressed  and  limped  down  the  long 
stairs  to  the  street  where  a  dense  mob  had  assembled, 
shouting,  threatening,  crowding  dangerously  around 
the  motor  car.  It  is  a  horrible  thing  to  hear  a  mob 
shrieking  for  one's  blood.  One  feels  like  a  cornered 
hare  in  the  face  of  yelping  hounds.  With  the  strength 
of  desperation  I  clung  to  the  arm  of  Antonoff,  who  for 
all  I  knew  might  yield  suddenly  and  throw  me  to  the 
crowd.  Unworthy  thought,  for  the  man  held  me 
firmly,  all  the  time  demanding  that  the  people  give 
room  and  let  us  reach  the  car.  When  they  saw  me  in 
the  car  their  fury  seemed  to  redouble.  "Daughter  of 
the  Romanoffs,"  they  yelled,  "how  dare  she  ride  in  a 
motor  car?     Let  her  get  out  and  walk."     Standing 


up  in  the  car  Antonoff  repeated  his  commands  that  the 
mob  disperse,  and  slowly  at  first  and  then  more  rapidly 
we  got  away.  We  reached  the  distant  water  front, 
and  I  was  taken  from  the  car  to  a  ship.  Picture  my 
astonishment  when  I  found  myself  standing  on  the 
deck  of  the  Polar  Star,  the  light  and  beautiful  yacht  on 
which  I  had  so  often  sailed  in  Finnish  waters  with  the 
Imperial  Family.  With  all  the  Imperial  property  the 
Polar  Star  had  been  confiscated  by  the  Provisional  Gov- 
ernment, and  it  was  but  another  sign  of  the  changing 
times  that  the  yacht  had  later  been  taken  away  from 
the  Provisional  Government  and  was  now  the  property 
of  the  Soviets,  being  the  Zentrobalt,  or  headquarters 
of  the  Baltic  fleet. 

From  the  deck  I  was  hurried  past  the  open  door  of 
the  main  dining  salon,  once  a  place  of  ceremony  and 
good  living,  now  a  dingy,  disordered  apartment  where 
crowds  of  illiterate  workmen  gathered  to  dispose  of 
the  rest  of  Russia's  ruined  fleet  and  the  future  of  our 
unhappy  country.^  At  least  a  hundred  of  these  men 
were  in  the  salon  when  I  passed  it  first,  and  during  the 
five  days  I  spent  on  the  yacht  their  voices  seemed  to  go 
on  In  endless  orations,  ceaseless  wrangling,  twenty-four 
hours  at  a  stretch.  It  was  like  nothing  I  can  describe, 
like  an  ill-disciplined  lunatic  asylum.  I  was  herded 
with  the  other  "counter-Revolutionists"  far  below 
decks  in  what  I  conjectured  had  been  the  stokers'  quar- 
ters. The  stifling  little  cabins  were  filthy,  like  all  the 
rest  of  the  yacht,  and  they  simply  swarmed  with  ver- 
min. It  was  so  dark  that  night  and  day  the  electric 
lights  burned,   and  I  was  thankful   for  that  because 

'Finland  had  not  then  separated  from  the  old  Russian  Empire. 


somehow  the  bright  light  seemed  to  be  a  kind  of  pro- 
tection against  the  swarm  of  grimacing,  obscene  sailors 
who  infested  the  place,  amusing  themselves  with  dis- 
cussions as  to  when  and  how  we  were  likely  to  be  killed. 
During  the  whole  of  the  first  night  Antonoff  stood 
guard  over  us  and  warned  the  sailors  that  no  murder 
could  be  done  without  authority  from  the  Soviet. 
Over  and  over  again  they  suggested  that  he  leave  the 
place,  but  he  always  replied  firmly  that  he  was  re- 
sponsible for  the  prisoners  and  could  not  go.  Finally 
towards  morning  the  sailors  left,  and  afterwards  we 
learned  that  their  blood  lust  towards  us  was  not  merely 
simulated.  They  had  gone  directly  from  the  yacht  to 
the  Petropavlovsk,  the  flagship  of  the  fleet,  and  had 
killed  every  one  of  the  old  officers  left  on  board. 

Antonoff  left  us  early  in  the  morning,  left  us  expect- 
ing to  return,  but  he  never  did  return  nor  did  we  ever 
see  or  hear  of  him  again.  Such  sudden  disappearances 
were  common  enough  even  in  those  early  days  of  the 
Russian  Revolution,  before  murder  became  the  fine  art 
into  which  it  has  since  developed.  Five  days  we  re- 
mained on  the  Polar  Star,  very  miserable  in  our 
vermin-infested  quarters  below  decks,  but  mercifully 
allowed  part  of  each  day  in  the  open  air.  They  might 
have  allowed  us  longer  time  on  deck  had  it  not  been  for 
the  hostile  crowds  that  constantly  thronged  the  quays. 
My  time  was  spent  in  the  shelter  of  the  deckhouse  near 
the  main  salon,  a  spot  where  in  the  old  days  the  Em- 
press and  I  loved  to  sit  with  our  books  and  work. 
Here  five  years  before,  when  the  Empress  Dowager 
visited  the  yacht,  I  had  taken  a  photograph  of  her  with 
her  arm  around  the  shoulders  of  the  Emperor,  both 


smiling  and  happy  in  the  sparkling  light  of  the  fjord. 
Every  corner  of  the  yacht  had  been  exquisitely  clean 
and  white  in  those  days.  Dirty  as  the  yacht's  present 
crew  appeared,  I  cannot  say  they  starved  their 
prisoners  or  were  cruel  to  them.  We  had  soup,  meat, 
bread,  and  tea,  luxurious  fare  compared  to  Peter  and 
Paul.  Our  worst  condition  was  suspense  of  mind  as 
to  our  ultimate  fate.  At  every  change  of  guard  we 
begged  news  from  Petrograd,  but  always  we  received 
the  same  answer.  The  Kerensky  Government  gave  no 
reason  or  justification  for  our  arrest.  Two  of  the 
sailors  were  especially  friendly  to  me  because,  as  they 
explained,  they  came  from  Rojdestino,  our  family 
estate  near  Moscow.  "If  we  had  known  that  you 
were  going  to  be  brought  here,"  they  said,  "we  might 
have  done  something.  But  now  it  is  too  late."  That 
night  I  found  in  my  cabin  a  tiny  note,  ill-spelled  and 
badly  written,  warning  me  that  all  of  us  were  about  to 
be  transferred  to  the  Fortress  of  Sveaborg  in  the  Bay 
of  Helsingfors.  "We  are  so  sorry,"  the  note  con- 
cluded. Although  it  was  unsigned,  I  knew  the  note 
must  have  been  sent  in  kindness  by  one  of  the  men  from 
my  old  home.  But  at  the  prospect  of  another  im- 
prisonment my  heart  turned  sick  with  dread. 

Next  evening  came  Ostrovsky,  head  of  the  Helsing- 
fors Okhrana,  accompanied  by  several  members  of  the 
main  committee  of  the  Soviet.  Ostrovsky  was  a  very 
young  man,  scarcely  eighteen  I  should  judge,  but  he 
had  fierce  eyes  and  all  the  assurance  of  a  born  leader. 
Turning  to  my  nurse,  to  Mme.  Badmieff,  Erika  the 
maid,  and  her  little  Mongolian  charge  Aida,  he  said 
roughly  that  they  were  free  but  that  all  the  rest  would 


be  taken  at  once  to  the  fortress.  In  a  sudden  panic  of 
alarm  I  threw  myself  into  the  arms  of  my  nursing  sister 
and  begged  her  to  accompany  me.  But  she  too  was 
fear-stricken  and  drew  back  while  all  the  men  laughed 
heartlessly.  "What's  the  difference?"  asked  Ostrov- 
sky  brutally.  "You're  all  going  to  be  shot  anyhow." 
At  which  the  dauntless  Erika,  putting  Aida  into  her 
mother's  arms,  came  over  to  me  and  tucking  her  hand 
under  my  arms  said:  "I'm  not  afraid.  I'm  going 
wherever  the  doctor  goes  and  I'll  stand  by  you  both." 
I  gave  the  trembling  nurse  a  small  box  containing  all 
the  trinkets  I  had  brought  with  me,  gave  her  messages 
to  my  father  and  mother,  and  followed  my  fellow  un- 
fortunates to  the  deck,  down  a  slippery  gangplank  to 
waiting  motor  boats  on  which  we  traveled  the  half 
hour's  journey  from  the  yacht  to  the  fortress. 


SVEABORG  before  the  War  was  one  of  three  prin- 
cipal naval  stations  of  the  Russian  Empire,  the 
other  two  being  Kronstadt  and  Reval,  Sveaborg  oc- 
cupies a  number  of  small  islands  in  the  Bay  of  Helsing- 
fors.  The  bay  itself,  shaped  like  a  rather  narrow  half 
moon,  is  so  enclosed  by  these  wooded  islands  that  in 
winter  the  salt  water  freezes  solidly.  In  summer  the 
islands  are  green  and  lovely  and  a  few  of  them,  not 
under  military  control,  are  used  by  the  Finns  as  pleas- 
ure resorts.  Even  in  the  darkness  and  in  the  unfortui- 
tous  circumstances  of  our  arrival  I  could  see  that  the 
main  island  might  be  a  very  attractive  place.  Up  a 
steep  hill  we  panted,  past  a  white  church  surrounded 
with  trees,  and  at  last  reached  the  place  of  our  confine- 
ment, a  long,  dingy,  one-storied  stronghold.  A  young 
officer  and  several  very  dirty  soldiers  took  our  records, 
and  Erika  and  I  were  pushed  into  a  small  cell  with  two 
wooden  bunks  covered  with  dust  and  alas,  nothing  else. 
The  place  smelled  as  only  old  prisons  do  smell,  and 
the  only  air  came  in  through  a  small  window  high  in 
one  of  the  walls.  Wrapping  ourselves  in  our  coats,  we 
lay  down  on  the  hard  planks  and  tried  to  sleep.  In 
the  early  dawn  we  got  up,  our  backs  aching  and  our 
throats  choked  with  dust,  but  the  Irrepressible  Erika 
laughed  so  heartily  and  sneezed  so  comically  that  I 

found  it  impossible  to  lament  our  surroundings.     The 



place  was  a  dreadful  hole  just  the  same,  no  proper 
toilet  facilities  at  hand,  and  of  course  no  opportunity 
of  washing,  to  say  nothing  of  bathing.  We  had  to  pay 
for  our  food  at  the  rate  of  about  ten  rubles  a  day,  at 
that  time  no  small  amount  of  money.  The  food  was 
not  very  bad  except  that  Stepan,  the  commissary,  used 
to  wipe  our  plates  with  a  disgustingly  dirty  towel  which 
he  wore  around  his  neck,  the  same  towel  being  used  in  a 
laudable  attempt  to  wipe  the  dust  from  our  bunks. 

Climbing  on  the  bunks,  we  had  a  view  through  the 
window  of  a  new  building  going  up,  the  workmen  being 
women  as  well  as  men.  At  the  same  time  we  got  a 
glimpse  of  the  detective  Manoulloff  who,  ever  pessimis- 
tic, held  up  three  fingers  as  an  expression  of  his  belief 
that  we  had  only  that  many  days  to  live.  We,  how- 
ever, ventured  the  guess  that  we  would  not  remain  at 
Sveaborg  more  than  a  month.  It  was  a  mere  hazard 
but  it  turned  out  a  fortunate  one.  We  remained  just 
about  a  month.  It  was  a  queer  life  we  lived  during 
that  month,  surrounded  by  tipsy  and  irresponsible  men 
whose  officers  seemed  to  fear  them  too  much  to  insist 
upon  discipline.  The  officers,  especially  one  fine  young 
man,  did  everything  they  dared  to  make  us  comfort- 
able. After  the  first  ten  days  our  plank  beds  were 
furnished  with  green  leather  cushions  which  might  have 
made  sleep  a  comfort  if  they  had  not  persisted  in  slip- 
ping from  under  us  about  as  soon  as  we  dozed  off. 
Somewhat  later,  a  week  perhaps  before  our  liberation, 
these  cushions  were  replaced  by  real  mattresses  stuffed 
with  seaweed,  wonderfully  luxurious  by  comparison 
with  the  bare  boards.  The  prisoners  were  exercised 
every  day  in  the  open  under  Sveaborg  guards  and  the 


gaze  of  a  crowd  of  Finnish  Bolshevists.  These  people 
seemed  at  first  immensely  div^erted  by  the  pomposity  of 
the  Siberian  doctor  Badmieff  who,  in  his  long  white 
robe,  tall  cap,  and  white  gloves  was  certainly  a  curious 
spectacle.  Soon  they  tired  of  him  and  turned  their 
stolid,  expressionless  eyes  on  the  other  prisoners  with 
what  intentions  we  could  only  conjecture.  Badmieff 
continued  to  be  a  center  of  interest  in  the  prison.  Erika, 
his  faithful  disciple,  demanded  the  privilege  of  attend- 
ing him,  and  this  was  granted.  Every  day  he  sat 
cross-legged  like  the  Buddha  he  so  much  resembled, 
dictating  endless  medical  treatises  to  Erika.  In  the 
evenings  he  used  to  put  his  lamp  on  the  floor  at  the 
foot  of  his  bunk,  strew  around  it  flowers  and  leaves 
brought  from  outside,  burn  some  kind  of  ill-smelling 
herbs  for  incense,  and  generally  create  what  I  assumed 
to  be  the  occult  atmosphere  of  his  beloved  Thibet. 
Erika,  scantily  clad,  always  attended  these  seances  and 
gradually  they  appeared  to  hypnotize  the  sailors,  who 
thought  highly  of  the  doctor's  professional  powers. 
Indeed  towards  the  end  I  often  heard  them  swearing 
that  whoever  left  the  fortress,  they  would  at  least  keep 
their  highly  esteemed  tovarish  Badmieff  and  his 
Siberian-Thibetan  lore. 

In  sad  contrast  to  the  condition  of  Dr.  Badmieff  was 
that  of  the  poor  editor.  Glinka  Janchevsky,  who  being 
without  money  was  treated  with  the  utmost  contempt. 
Housed  in  a  wretched  cell  covered  with  obscene  draw- 
ings, the  miserable  man  spent  most  of  his  time  lying  on 
his  wooden  bed  wrapped  up,  head  and  all,  in  his  over- 
coat. He  used  to  creep  to  our  cell  door  with  a  glass 
of  hot  water  in  his  hand  begging  for  a  pinch  of  tea  and, 


if  we  had  it,  a  little  sugar.  Every  day  he  used  to  ask 
pathetically:  "When  do  you  think  we  shall  be  let 
go?"  Like  all  journalists,  he  was  famished  for  news, 
and  whenever  I  got  hold  of  a  stray  newspaper  I  used  to 
read  it  to  him  from  the  first  column  to  the  last. 

The  vacillating  conduct  of  the  Bolshevist  sailors  to- 
ward the  prisoners  of  Kerensky  I  can  only  ascribe  to 
the  increasingly  bitter  conflict  going  on  between  the 
weak  Provisional  Government  and  the  Bolsheviki. 
The  sailors  hated  us  because  we  were  "bourgeois,"  but 
they  spared  us  because  Kerensky  desired  our  destruc- 
tion. The  officers  good-naturedly  brought  me  flowers 
from  outside,  an  occasional  newspaper,  and  even  letters 
from  people  in  Helsingfors  who  knew  my  history  and 
pitied  my  fate.  Sometimes  I  was  even  invited  to  tea 
with  the  officers,  and  twice  I  was  taken  out  of  prison, 
ostensibly  for  examination,  but  really  to  attend  services 
at  the  little  white  church  on  the  island.  The  guards 
were  rough  and  kind  by  turns,  sometimes  uttering  hor- 
rible threats  against  all  the  prisoners,  sometimes  bring- 
ing me  a  handful  of  the  wild  flowers  they  knew  I  loved 
to  have  near  me.  Discipline  was  lax,  and  we  never 
knew  from  one  day  to  another  what  might  befall.  For 
example,  the  padlock  to  my  cell  got  lost  and  for  several 
nights  the  door  was  left  unlocked.  One  can  imagine 
how  I  slept !  On  one  of  these  unguarded  nights  the 
cell  was  invaded  by  a  group  of  drunken  and  lustful 
men.  Erika  and  I  fought  them,  screaming  at  the  top 
of  our  lungs,  until  a  few  sober  and  better-minded 
sailors  came  to  the  rescue.  A  day  or  two  later,  when 
a  rumor  spread  that  we  were  all  to  be  hanged,  I  among 
the  first,  I  for  one  felt  less  terror  than  relief.     Any- 


thing,  even  hanging,  seemed  better  than  this  lunatic 
prison  where  the  guards  drank,  played  cards,  and 
wrangled  all  night,  and  where  the  men's  attitude  to- 
wards Erika  and  myself,  the  only  women,  was  by  turns 
dangerously  savage  and  dangerously  friendly. 

Besides  the  Kerensky  prisoners  the  fortress  sheltered 
eight  or  nine  prisoners  charged  with  crimes  ranging 
from  theft  to  murder.  Some  of  these  whom  we  en- 
countered in  the  exercise  yard  looked  like  very  decent 
men,  shining  perhaps  by  contrast  with  the  rowdy  Revo- 
lutionists I  had  seen  in  the  course  of  two  imprison- 
ments. For  these  unfortunates  and  for  the  guards 
we  bought  cigarettes,  thus  establishing  more  cordial 
relations.  Nobody  knew  or  could  guess  what  was 
going  to  happen  to  us.  One  day  appeared  the  presi- 
dent of  the  Helsingfors  Soviet,  a  black-eyed  Jew  named 
Sheiman,  who  assured  us  that  we  were  to  be  sent  back 
to  Petrograd,  and  that  we  might  as  well  have  our 
things  ready  by  nine  o'clock  that  night.  Nothing  hap- 
pened that  night,  nor  did  we,  for  some  reason,  expect 
anything.  The  next  day  Sheiman  came  again  with  his 
bodyguard  of  soldiers  and  sailors,  and  told  us  that  his 
Soviet  refused  for  a  time  to  release  us.  It  appeared 
that  telegrams  had  arrived  from  Kerensky  and  from 
Cheidze,  the  Georgian  leader  in  the  Petrograd  Soviet, 
urgently  demanding  our  return.  The  Helsingfors 
Soviet  might  have  obliged  Cheidze,  but  they  would  not 
honor  any  demand  of  Kerensky's,  so  there  we  were. 
The  Provisional  Government  and  the  Petrograd  Soviet 
sent  over  several  deputies,  Kaplan,  a  small,  black- 
bearded  man,  who  smilingly  told  us  that  there  was  no 
possible  hope  for  us;  Sokoloff,  the  famous,  or  rather 


Infamous,  author  in  the  first  instance  of  Order  No.  i 
which  was  principally  responsible  for  the  break-up  of 
the  army;  and  Joffe,  the  little  Jew,  who,  a  few  years 
later,  became  influential  enough  to  be  included  among 
the  delegates  to  the  Genoa  Conference.  After  their 
visit,  I  don't  know  why,  prison  discipline  became  still 
further  relaxed.  We  had  visitors  and  the  attention  of 
physicians  if  we  needed  it.  We  were  informed  that 
henceforth  we  would  not  be  regarded  as  prisoners  at 
all,  but  only  as  persons  temporarily  detained.  Two 
hours  a  day  after  this  we  were  allowed  in  the  open 
air,  and  I  became  very  friendly  with  the  Finnish  women 
carpenters  at  work  on  the  new  building  on  our  island. 
These  good  souls  brought  me  bottles  of  delicious  milk, 
and  one  day  the  building  foreman,  a  Moscow  Russian, 
invited  me  to  his  house  to  tea,  and  here  I,  a  poor  pris- 
oner, was  treated  with  such  deference  that  I  was 
actually  embarrassed.  Not  one  of  the  family  would 
eat  with  me  or  even  sit  down  in  my  presence. 

At  this  time  Erika  and  I  were  given  a  more  com- 
modious cell  furnished  with  the  seaweed  mattresses 
of  which  I  have  spoken.  But  to  our  horror  we  found 
the  walls  covered  with  the  most  frightful  scrawls  and 
pictures.  The  sailor  guards,  however,  brought  water 
and  sponges  and  with  many  apologies  washed  off  the 
disgusting  records  as  well  as  they  could.  I  was  thank- 
ful for  this  a  few  days  later  when  all  unexpectedly  I 
received  a  visit  from  my  dear  mother.  It  had  been 
some  days  after  our  parting  at  the  frontier  before  she 
and  my  father  learned  that  I  was  in  prison.  Imme- 
diately they  had  gone  to  Helsingfors  to  appeal  to  Gen- 
eral Stachovitch,  the  Governor  of  Finland.      But  he 


advised  them  to  avoid  trouble  for  themselves,  perhaps 
for  me  also,  by  going  quietly  back  to  Petrograd.  My 
parents  gave  him  money  for  me,  which  I  never  re- 
ceived, and  despite  the  Governor's  advice  they  stayed 
on  in  Helsingfors  in  faint  hope  of  seeing  me.  Dr. 
Manouchine,  my  mother  told  me,  had  returned  from  a 
long  visit  in  the  Caucasus  and  was  doing  what  he  could 
to  get  me  released.  My  mother  also  gave  me  news  of 
the  last  struggle  to  maintain  the  army,  the  conflict  be- 
tween Korniloff  and  Kerensky,  ending,  as  everyone 
knows,  in  the  death  of  Korniloff.  These  two  were 
about  equally  hated  by  the  Sveaborg  sailors  who  would 
gladly  have  murdered  them  both.  They  had  begun  to 
speak  with  unbounded  admiration  of  Lenine  and 
Trotzky,  especially  of  Lenine,  who  they  declared  was 
the  coming  saviour  of  Russia. 

Bolshevism  was  in  the  air,  and  for  a  moment  it  as- 
sumed a  really  benevolent  aspect.  I  remember  a  depu- 
tation of  Kronstadt  Bolshevists  who  came  to  Sveaborg 
to  inspect  us  and  to  review  our  entire  case.  Some  of 
these  men  were  very  civil  to  me,  asking  many  questions 
about  the  Imperial  Family  and  the  life  of  the  Court. 
At  parting  one  said  to  me  naively;  "You  are  quite 
different  from  what  I  thought  you'd  be,  and  I  shall  tell 
the  comrades  so."  The  very  next  day  another  deputa- 
tion came  and,  characteristic  of  the  confused  state  of 
the  public  mind,  these  men  were  as  brutal  as  the  others 
had  been  kind.  They  stormed  down  the  prison  corri- 
dors roaring:  "Where  is  Viroubova?  Show  us 
Viroubova !"  I  cowered  in  my  cell,  but  when  the 
guard  came  and  admonished  me,  for  my  own  safety,  to 
show  myself  to  the  men  I  gathered  courage  to  speak  to 


them.  Totally  unprepared  to  see  the  terrible  Virou- 
bova  merely  a  crippled  woman  in  a  shabby  frock,  the 
men  suddenly  quieted  down  and  made  civil  response  to 
my  words.  "We  didn't  know  that  you  were  ill,"  said 
one  of  the  men  as  they  prepared  to  move  on. 

Although  we  did  not  know  it  at  the  time,  our  fate 
really  hung  on  the  outcome  of  a  Congress  of  Soviets 
which  was  then  being  held  in  Petrograd,  and  to  which 
both  Sheiman  and  Ostrovsky  were  delegates.  Shei- 
man  returned  to  Helsingfors  and  visiting  my  cell  told 
me  that  both  Trotzky  and  Lounacharsky  were  insistent 
on  the  release  of  Kerensky's  prisoners.  That  evening, 
he  said,  would  be  held  a  secret  session  of  the  executives 
of  the  Helsingfors  Soviet  at  which  he  would  urge  the 
recommendation  of  Trotzky  and  Lounacharsky.  If 
the  executives  agreed  the  question  would  then  be  re- 
ferred to  the  entire  Soviet,  made  up  principally  of 
sailors  of  the  old  Baltic  fleet.  That  evening  I  was 
invited  to  tea  in  the  officers'  quarters,  and  while  sitting 
there  the  telephone  rang.  "It  is  for  you,"  said  the 
officer  who  answered  the  call.  I  picked  up  the  receiver 
and  heard  Sheiman's  voice  saying  briefly:  "The  execu- 
tive has  voted  unanimously  for  the  release  of  the 

There  was  little  sleep  for  me  that  night,  but  tired  as 
I  was  by  morning,  I  greeted  happily  the  unkempt  cook 
and  his  messy  breakfast  plate.  All  day  I  waited  with 
the  dumb  patience  only  prisoners  know,  and  at  early 
evening  I  was  rewarded  by  the  appearance  of  Sheiman 
and  Ostrovsky.  "Put  on  your  coat  and  follow  me," 
said  Sheiman.      "I  have  resolved  to  take  you,  on  my 

own  responsibility,  to  the  hospital."  To  my  nursing 
sister,  who  had  spent  the  afternoon  with  me,  he  gave 
orders  to  go  to  Helsingfors  and  wait  for  further  direc- 
tions. At  the  prison  gate  Sheiman  signed  the  neces- 
sary papers,  and  hurrying  me  past  two  gaping 
Bolshevist  soldiers,  he  led  the  way  down  a  bypath  to 
the  water.  Boarding  a  small  motor  launch  manned  by 
a  single  sailor,  we  started  off  at  high  speed  for  Helsing- 
fors. There  was  one  bad  moment  when  we  approached 
a  low  bridge  occupied  by  a  strong  guard,  but  at  Shei- 
man's  directions,  uttered  in  a  short  whisper,  I  lay  down 
flat  in  the  launch  and  we  passed  unchallenged.  The 
first  stars  were  shining  in  the  clear  autumn  sky  as  we 
reached  the  military  quay  of  the  town.  We  ran  in 
under  the  lee  of  a  huge  warship  and  stepped  ashore. 
There  was  a  motor  car  waiting  and  the  chauffeur,  who 
evidently  knew  his  business,  started  his  engine  without 
a  word  or  even  a  turn  of  his  head. 

Sheiman  spoke  only  one  sentence.  "Tovarish 
Nicholai,  drive  to — "  naming  a  street  and  number. 
At  once  we  were  off,  my  head  fairly  swimming  at  the 
sight  of  electric  lights,  shaded  streets,  and  people  walk- 
ing up  and  down.  Turning  into  a  quiet  street  we  left 
the  car,  all  three  of  us  shaking  hands  with  the  discreet 
driver.  Bidding  Ostrovsky  find  my  nurse  and  my 
small  luggage,  Sheiman  conducted  me  to  the  door  of 
the  hospital  where  a  nice  clean  Finnish  nurse  took  me 
in  charge  and  put  me  to  bed  in  one  of  the  freshest, 
airiest,  most  comfortable  rooms  I  have  ever  occupied. 
"Take  good  care  of  this  lady,"  were  the  last  words  of 
the  President  of  the  Helsingfors  Soviet,  "and  let  no 


one  intrude  on  her."  His  words  and  tlie  assured  smile 
of  the  nurse  were  good  soporifics  and  I  fell  almost  in- 
stantly into  a  deep  sleep. 

Two  days  later,  September  30  (Russian),  Sheiman 
came  to  see  me  with  the  news  that  Trotzky  had  ordered 
all  the  Kerensky  prisoners  back  to  Petrograd,  and  that 
he,  Sheiman,  had  personally  seen  to  it  that  my  nurse 
and  my  aunt,  who  was  at  that  time  in  Helsingfors,  were 
to  accompany  me.  Sheiman  himself,  and  also  Ostrov- 
sky,  who  was  unfortunately  very  drunk,  went  with  us 
in  the  train  which  left  Helsingfors  that  same  night 
about  half  past  ten.  It  was  an  unpleasant  journey,  the 
prisoners  being  in  a  state  of  wild  excitement,  and  many 
of  the  red-badged  officers  more  or  less  tipsy.  With 
my  aunt  and  the  nurse  I  sat  in  a  corner  of  a  dirty  com- 
partment praying  for  the  day  to  come.  At  nine  in  the 
morning  we  reached  Petrograd,  and  Sheiman,  still  so- 
licitous of  my  welfare,  escorted  the  three  of  us  to  the 
Smolny  Institute,  once  an  aristocratic  school  for  girls, 
now  the  headquarters  of  the  Petrograd  Soviet.  Here 
I  had  the  happiness  once  more  to  embrace  my  mother, 
who,  with  relatives  of  other  prisoners,  waited  our 
arrival.  Many  Soviet  authorities  were  in  the  place, 
among  others  Kameneff,  a  small  red-bearded  man,  and 
his  wife,  a  sister  of  the  renowned  Trotzky.  Both  of 
the  Kameneffs  were  extremely  kind  to  us,  seeing  that 
my  companions  and  I  had  tea  and  food,  and  expressing 
the  hope  that  I  should  soon  be  out  of  trouble. 
Kameneff  telephoned  Kerensky's  headquarters  asking 
leave  to  send  us  home,  but  as  it  was  a  holiday  nobody 
answered  the  call.  "Well,  go  home  anyhow,"  said 
Kameneff,  leaving  the  telephone,  but  Sokolov  stopped 


us  long  enough  to  make  us  understand  that  the  pris- 
oners all  had  to  appear  the  next  day  before  the  High 
Commission  in  the  Winter  Palace.  I  never  saw  the 
Kameneffs  agam  even  to  thank  them  for  their  kindness, 
but  I  read  in  the  Kerensky  newspapers  that  I  was  on 
terms  of  intimacy  with  them  and  was  therefore  a  Bol- 
shevist. It  was  even  stated  that  I  was  a  close  friend 
of  the  afterwards  notorious  woman  commissar  Kolan- 
tai,  whom  I  have  never  seen,  and  that  Trotzky  was  a 
familiar  visitor  in  my  house. 

Thus  ended  my  second  term  of  imprisonment.  First 
I  was  arrested  as  a  German  spy  and  intrigant,  next  as  a 
counter-Revolutionary.  Now  I  was  accused  of  being 
a  Bolshevist  and  the  name  of  Trotzky  instead  of  Ras- 
putine  was  linked  with  mine.  Hardly  knowing  what 
next  was  in  store  for  me,  I  reported  at  once  to  the  High 
Commission.  Here  I  was  told  that  their  inquiries  con- 
cerning me  were  finished,  and  that  I  had  better  see  the 
Minister  of  the  Interior.  At  this  ministry  I  was  in- 
formed that  I  was  in  no  immediate  danger  but  that  I 
would  remain  under  police  surveillance.  I  asked  why, 
but  got  no  satisfactory  answer.  Later  I  learned  that 
the  tottering  Provisional  Government  wanted  to  send 
me  and  all  the  "counter-Revolutionists"  to  Archangel, 
but  this  move  Dr.  Manouchine,  who  was  still  very 
influential,  was  determined  to  prevent. 

From  my  uncle's  house,  where  I  had  first  taken 
refuge,  I  moved  to  a  discreet  lodging  in  the  heart  of  the 
city  and  from  this  place  I  never  once  in  daylight  ven- 
tured out.  This  was  in  late  October,  19 17,  and  the 
Bolshevist  revolution  had  begun  in  deadly  earnest. 
Day  after  day  I  sat  listening  to  the  sound  of  rifle  shots 


and  the  putter  of  machine  guns,  the  pounding  of 
armored  cars  over  the  stone  pavements,  and  the  tramp, 
tramp,  tramp  of  soldiers.  Russia  was  getting  ready 
for  the  long  promised  constitutional  convention  which 
turned  out  to  be  a  Communist  coup  d'etat.  Once  in  a 
while  the  husband  of  my  landlady,  a  naval  man,  came 
to  my  lodgings,  and  it  was  he  who  gave  me  news  of  the 
arrest  of  the  Provisional  Government,  the  siege  of  the 
Winter  Palace,  and  the  ignominious  collapse  of  Keren- 
sky  while  women  soldiers  fought  and  died  to  hide  his 
flight !  The  scenes  in  the  streets,  as  they  were  de- 
scribed to  me,  were  appalling,  and  soon  it  was  decided 
that  my  retreat  was  too  near  the  center  of  hostilities  to 
be  at  all  safe.  About  the  end  of  October  I  was  taken 
by  night  to  a  distant  quarter  of  the  town  to  the  tiny 
apartment  of  an  old  woman,  formerly  a  masseuse  in 
my  hospital.  Here  came  our  old  servant  Berchik, 
keen  to  protect  me  from  danger,  and  here  we  stayed 
for  a  month,  when  my  mother  found  me  a  still  safer 
lodging  on  the  sixth  floor  of  a  house  in  the  Fourtch- 
katskaia,  a  cozy  little  apartment  whose  windows  gave 
a  pleasant  view  of  roofs  and  church  steeples.  There 
for  eight  months  I  lived  like  a  recluse,  once  in  a  great 
while  venturing  to  go  to  church,  well  guarded  by 
Berchik  and  the  nurse.  The  Bolshevik  Government 
seemed  successfully  established,  and  its  policy  of  blood 
and  terror  and  extermination  was  well  under  way.  Yet 
in  my  hidden  retreat  it  seemed  to  me  that,  for  a  time 
at  least,  I  was  forgotten,  and  my  troubles  were  all  over. 


PARADOXICAL  though  it  may  appear,  the  last 
months  of  1917  and  the  winter  of  1918,  spent  in  a 
hidden  lodging  in  turbulent  Petrograd,  were  more 
peaceful  than  any  period  I  had  known  since  the  Revo- 
lution began.  I  knew  that  the  city  and  the  country  were 
in  the  hands  of  fanatic  Bolshevists  and  that  under  their 
ruthless  theory  of  government  no  human  life  was  at  all 
secure.  Food  and  fuel  were  scarce  and  dear,  and  there 
was  no  doubt  that  things  were  destined  to  grow  worse 
long  before  they  could,  in  any  imaginable  circum- 
stances, grow  better.  The  wreck  of  the  army  was 
complete,  and  while  the  war  still  waged  in  western 
Europe  we,  who  had  had  so  much  to  do  with  defiance  of 
German  militarism,  were  completely  out  of  the  final 
struggle.  The  peace  of  my  soul  was  partly  born  of 
ignorance,  I  suppose,  the  ignorance  of  events  shared  by 
everyone  not  immediately  in  contact  with  the  world 
catastrophe.  I  was  free,  I  lived  in  a  comfortable 
apartm.ent,  my  dear  father  and  mother  came  daily  to 
see  me,  and  two  of  my  faithful  old  servants  lived  with 
me  and  were  ready  to  protect  me  from  all  enemies. 

Also,  because  the  mind  cannot  fully  realize  the 
worst,  I  believed  that  the  Russian  chaos  was  a  tem- 
porary manifestation.  I  thought  I  saw  signs  of  a  re- 
action in  favor  of  the  exiled  Emperor.  In  this  I  was 
certainly  encouraged  by  two  of  the  oldest  and  most 

prominent  Revolutionists  known  to  the  outside  world, 



Bourtseff,  a  leader  among  the  old  Social  Revolution- 
aries, and  the  novelist  Gorky.  It  was  in  December, 
19 1 7,  if  I  remember  correctly,  that  I  learned  that 
Gorky  was  anxious  to  meet  me,  and  as  I  preferred  to 
keep  my  small  corner  of  safety  as  free  from  visitors  as 
possible,  I  made  an  appointment  with  the  novelist  in 
his  own  home,  a  modest  apartment  on  the  Petrograd 
side  of  the  Neva,  not  far  from  the  fortress.  Gorky, 
whose  gaunt  feautures  are  familiar  to  all  readers,  is 
said  to  be  a  sufferer  from  tuberculosis,  but  as  he  has 
lived  many  years  since  the  first  rumors  of  this  disease 
were  circulated,  there  may  be  some  reason  to  doubt 
his  affliction.  That  he  is  a  sick  man  none  can  doubt, 
for  his  high  cheek  bones  seem  almost  to  pierce  his 
colorless  skin  and  his  darkly  luminous  eyes  are  deeply 
sunken  in  his  head.  For  two  hours  of  this  first  inter- 
view I  sat  in  conversation  with  Gorky,  strange  crea- 
ture, who  at  times  seems  to  be  heart  and  soul  a  Bol- 
shevist and  at  other  times  openly  expresses  his  loath- 
ing and  disgust  of  their  insane  and  destructive  policies. 
To  me  Gorky  was  gentle  and  sympathetic,  and  what  he 
said  about  the  Emperor  and  Empress  filled  my  heart 
with  encouragement  and  hope.  They  were,  he  de- 
clared, the  poor  scapegoats  of  the  Revolution,  martyrs 
to  the  fanaticism  of  the  time.  He  had  examined  with 
care  the  private  apartments  of  the  palace  and  he  saw 
clearly  that  these  unhappy  ones  were  not  even  what 
are  called  aristocrats,  but  merely  a  bourgeois  family 
devoted  to  each  other  and  to  their  children,  as  well  as 
to  their  ideals  of  righteous  living.  He  expressed  him- 
self as  bitterly  disappointed  in  the  Revolution  and  in 
the  character  of  the  Russian  proletariat.    Earnestly  he 


advised  me  to  live  as  quietly  as  possible,  never  re- 
minding the  Bolshevist  authorities  or  any  strangers  of 
my  existence.  My  duty,  he  told  me,  was  to  live  and 
to  devote  myself  to  writing  the  true  story  of  the  lives 
of  the  Emperor  and  Empress.  "You  owe  this  to 
Russia,"  he  said,  "for  what  you  can  write  may  help  to 
bring  peace  between  the  Emperor  and  the  people." 

Twice  afterwards  I  saw  and  talked  with  Gorky, 
showing  him  a  few  pages  of  my  reminiscences.  He 
urged  me  to  go  on  writing,  suppressing  nothing  of  the 
truth,  and  he  even  offered  to  help  me  with  my  work. 
But  writing  in  Russia  was  at  that  time  too  dangerous 
a  trade  to  be  followed  with  any  degree  of  confidence, 
and  it  was  not  until  I  was  safely  beyond  the  frontiers 
that  I  dared  begin  writing  freely  and  at  length.  I 
wish  to  say,  however,  that  It  was  principally  due  to 
Gorky's  encouragement  and  to  the  encouragement  of 
an  American  literary  friend,  Rheta  Childe  Dorr,  that  I 
ventured  to  attempt  authorship,  or  rather  that  I  under- 
took to  present  to  the  world,  as  they  really  were,  my 
Sovereigns  and  my  best  beloved  friends.  My  casual 
acquaintanceship  with  Gorky  was  naturally  seized  upon 
by  certain  foreign  journalists  as  evidence  that  I  had 
gone  over  to  the  Bolsheviki,  and  much  abuse  and  scorn 
were  hurled  against  "?e.  How  little  those  writers  knew 
of  Gorky  and  his  half-hearted  support  of  the  Lenine 
policies !  He  held  an  important  office  under  the  Com- 
munists, it  is  true,  and  his  wife,  a  former  actress,  was 
in  the  commissariat  of  theatricals  and  entertainments. 
But  no  man  in  Bolshevist  Russia  has  ever  been  per- 
mitted more  freedom  of  thought  and  speech  than 
Gorky.    He  has  done  things  which  would  have  brought 


almost  any  other  man  to  torture  and  death,  I  know, 
for  example,  that  he  sheltered  under  his  roof  at  least 
one  of  the  Romanoffs,  and  that  the  man  was  finally 
assisted  by  him  across  the  Finnish  frontier.  Gorky 
interested  himself  also  in  the  fate  of  several  of  the 
Grand  Dukes,  Nicholai  Michailovitch,  Paul  and 
George,  who  were  arrested  and  later  shot  to  death  in 
Peter  and  Paul.  Gorky  did  everything  in  his  power  to 
save  these  men,  in  whom  personally  he  had  no  interest 
whatever.  He  simply  believed  their  murder  to  be  un- 
justified, and  it  is  said  that  he  actually  induced  Lenine 
to  sign  an  order  for  their  release  and  deportation,  but 
the  order  was  signed  too  late,  and  the  men  were 
brutally  executed. 

At  Christmas,  19 17,  I  had  a  great  happiness,  noth- 
ing less  than  letters  and  a  parcel  of  food  from  the  exiles 
in  Tobolsk.  There  were  two  parcels  in  fact,  one  con- 
taining flour,  sugar,  macaroni,  and  sausage,  wonderful 
luxuries,  and  the  other  a  pair  of  stockings  knit  by  the 
Empress's  own  hands,  a  warm  scarf,  and  some  pretty 
Christmas  cards  illuminated  in  her  well-remembered 
style.  I  made  myself  a  tiny  Christmas  tree  decorated 
with  bits  of  tinsel  and  holly  berries  and  hung  with  these 
precious  tokens  of  affection  and  remembrance.  Nor 
was  this  the  only  Christmas  joy  vouchsafed  me  after  a 
year  of  sorrow  and  suffering.  Under  the  escort  of  my 
good  old  servant  Berchik  I  ventured  to  attend  mass  in 
the  big  church  near  the  Nicholai  station,  a  church  built 
to  commemorate  the  three  hundredth  anniversary  of 
the  Romanoff  succession.  After  the  service  an  old 
monk  approached  me  and  invited  me  to  accompany 
him  into  the  refectoire  of  his  monastery.     I  followed 


him,  a  little  unwillingly,  for  one  never  knew  what 
might  happen.  Entering  I  saw,  to  my  astonishment, 
about  two  hundred  factory  women  who  almost  filled  the 
bare  and  lofty  room.  The  old  monk  introduced  me 
to  the  women,  and  to  my  bewilderment  their  leader 
came  forward  bowing,  and  holding  in  her  outstretched 
hands  a  clean  white  towel  on  which  reposed  a  silver 
ikon.  It  was  an  image  of  Our  Lady  of  Unexpected 
Joy,  and  the  kind  woman  told  me  that  she  and  her 
fellow  workers  felt  that  after  all  that  I  had  unjustly 
suffered  in  the  fortress  I  ought  to  have  from  those  who 
sympathized  with  me  an  expression  of  confidence  and 
good-will.  She  added  that  were  I  again  in  trouble  I 
might  feel  myself  free  to  take  refuge  in  the  lodgings 
of  any  one  of  them.  Overcome  with  emotion,  I  could 
utter  only  a  few  stammering  words  of  thanks.  I 
kissed  the  good  woman  heartily,  and  all  who  could 
approached  and  embraced  me.  Knowing  that  I  longed 
for  more  tangible  expressions  of  gratitude,  the  good 
old  monk  pressed  into  my  hands  a  number  of  sacred 
pictures  and  these  I  gave  away,  as  long  as  they  lasted, 
to  my  new  friends.  No  words  can  tell  how  deeply  I 
felt  the  kindness  of  these  working  women  who,  out  of 
their  scanty  wages,  bought  a  silver  ikon  to  give  to  a 
woman  of  whom  they  knew  nothing  except  that  she 
had,  as  they  believed,  been  persecuted  for  others'  sake. 
I  needed  the  assurance  that  in  the  cruel  world 
around  me  there  were  those  who  wished  me  well,  for  in 
the  first  months  of  the  new  year  came  one  of  the  bitter- 
est sorrows  of  my  life,  the  death  of  my  deeply  loved 
and  revered  father.  He  died  very  suddenly,  and  with- 
out any  pain,  on  January  25,  19 18,  leaving  the  world 


bereft  of  one  of  the  kindest,  most  gifted,  and  sympa- 
thetic men  of  his  generation  in  Russia.  I  have 
described  my  father  as  a  musician  and  a  composer,  as 
well  as  a  lifelong  friend  and  functionary  of  the  Imperial 
Family.  His  years  of  service  as  keeper  of  the  privy 
purse  might  have  made  him  a  rich  man,  but  so  utterly 
honest  was  he  that  he  accepted  nothing  except  his 
moderate  salary  and  be  died  leaving  almost  nothing, 
nothing  but  an  unfading  memory  and  the  deep  affection 
of  my  friends,  including  scores  of  poor  students  wliose 
musical  education  and  advancement  he  had  furthered. 
At  his  funeral  his  own  compositions  were  sung  by  vol- 
unteer choirs  of  his  musician  friends,  and  these  fol- 
lowed his  coffin  in  long  procession  the  length  of  the 
Nevski  Prospekt  to  the  cemetery  of  the  Alexandra 
Nevskaia  Lavra,  a  monastic  burial  place  where  many 
of  our  greatest  lie  in  everlasting  repose.  My  mother 
came  to  live  with  me  in  my  obscure  lodgings,  and  to- 
gether we  faced  our  desolate  future. 

One  thing  alone  lightened  the  darkness  of  those 
days.  This  was  a  correspondence  daringly  undertaken 
with  my  beloved  friends  in  Siberia.  Even  now,  and  at 
this  distance  from  Russia  I  cannot  divulge  the  names  of 
those  brave  and  devoted  ones  who  smuggled  the  letters 
and  parcels  to  and  from  the  house  in  Tobolsk,  and  got 
them  to  me  and  to  the  small  group  of  faithful  men  and 
women  in  Petrograd.  The  two  chiefly  concerned,  a 
man  and  a  woman,  of  course  lived  in  constant  peril  of 
discovery  and  death.  Yet  they  gladly  risked  their  lives 
that  their  Sovereigns  might  have  the  happiness  of  pri- 
vate communication  with  their  friends.  At  this  time 
their  Majesties  were  permitted  to  write  and  receive  a 


few  letters,  but  every  line  was  read  by  their  jailers,  and 
their  list  of  correspondents  was  rigidly  censored.  Even 
in  the  letters  smuggled  out  from  Tobolsk  the  utmost 
precautions  had  to  be  observed,  and  the  reader  can  see 
with  what  veiled  and  discreet  phrases  the  sentences 
are  couched. 

I  give  these  letters  exactly  as  they  were  written,  sup- 
pressing only  certain  messages  of  affection  too  intimate 
to  make  public.  Most  of  the  letters  were  written  by 
the  Empress,  but  one  at  least  came  from  the  Emperor, 
and  a  number  are  from  the  children.  To  me  these 
letters  are  infinitely  precious,  not  only  as  personal  mes- 
sages, but  as  proofs  of  the  dauntless  courage  and  deep 
religious  faith  of  these  martyrs  of  the  Russian  Revolu- 
tion. Their  patriotism  and  their  love  of  country  never 
faltered  for  a  single  moment,  nor  did  they  ever  utter 
a  complaint  or  a  reproach  against  those  who  had  so 
heartlessly  betrayed  them.  It  seems  to  me  impossible 
that  anyone,  reading  these  letters,  intended  only  for 
my  own  eyes,  can  continue  to  misjudge  the  lives  and  the 
characters  of  Nicholas  II  and  the  Empress  Alexandra 
Feodorovna.  What  they  reveal  is  their  secret  selves, 
unknown  except  to  those  who  knew  them  best  and 
knowing  them  loved  them  as  they  deserved  to  be  loved. 

The  first  communication  to  reach  me  was  a  brief 
message  from  the  Empress,  dated  October  14,  19 17,  a 
short  time  after  the  news  of  my  liberation  from  the 
fortress  reached  her  in  Siberia. 

My  darling:  We  are  thinking  constantly  of  you  and  of 
all  the  suffering  you  have  had  to  endure.  God  help  you  in 
the  future.  How  are  your  weak  heart  and  your  poor  legs? 
We  hope  to  go  to  Communion  as  usual  if  we  are  to  be  allowed. 


Lessons  have  begun  again  with  Mr.  Gibbs  also.  So  glad,  at 
last.  We  are  all  well.  It  is  beautifully  sunny.  I  sit  behind 
this  wall  in  the  yard  and  work.  Greetings  to  the  doctors, 
the  priest,  and  the  nurses  in  your  hospital.  I  kiss  you  and 
pray  God  to  keep  you. 

A  week  later  the  Empress  wrote  me  a  long  letter  in 
which  she  ventures  a  few  details  of  life  in  Tobolsk. 

October  21,   1917. 

My  darling:  I  was  inexpressibly  glad  to  get  news  of  you, 
and  I  kiss  you  fondly  for  all  your  loving  thoughts  of  me. 
There  are  no  real  barriers  between  souls  who  really  under- 
stand each  other,  but  still  it  is  natural  for  hearts  to  crave  ex- 
pressions of  love.  I  wrote  to  you  on  the  14th,  and  now  will 
try  to  send  this  to  the  same  address,  but  I  don't  know  how 
long  you  will  remain.  I  wonder  if  you  got  my  letter.  I  had 
hoped  so  much  that  you  would  see  Zina  and  find  comfort  in 
her  friendship.  The  expression  in  the  eyes  in  the  photograph 
which  was  brought  me  ^  has  impressed  me  deeply,  and  I  wept 
freely  as  I  looked  at  it.  Ah,  God!  Still  He  is  merciful  and 
will  never  forget  His  own.  Great  will  be  their  reward  in 
Heaven.  The  more  we  suffer  here  the  fairer  it  will  be  on 
that  other  shore  where  so  many  dear  ones  await  us.  How  are 
our  Friend's  ^  dear  children,  how  well  does  the  boy  learn,  and 
where  do  they  live? 

Dear  little  Owl,  I  kiss  you  tenderly.  You  are  in  all  our 
hearts.  We  pray  for  you  and  often  talk  of  you.  In  God's 
hands  lie  all  things.  From  this  great  distance  it  is  a  difficult 
thing  to  help  and  comfort  a  loved  one  who  is  suffering.  We 
hope  tomorrow  to  go  to  Holy  Communion,  but  neither  today 
nor  yesterday  were  we  allowed  to  go  to  church.     We  have 

^The  snapshot  taken  of  me  by  Mr.  Gibbs  soon  after  I  was  released 
from  the  fortress. 
'  Rasputine. 


had  services  at  home,  last  night  prayers  for  the  dead,  tonight 
confession  and  evening  praj'er.  You  are  ever  with  us,  a  kindred 
soul.  How  many  things  I  long  to  say  and  to  ask  of  you.  It 
is  strange  to  be  in  this  house  and  to  sleep  in  the  dark  bedroom.' 
I  have  heard  nothing  from  Lili  D.  for  some  time.  We  are 
all  well.  I  have  been  suffering  from  neuralgia  in  the  head 
but  now  Dr.  Kostritzky  has  come  to  treat  me.  We  have 
spoken   often   of  you. 

They  say  that  life  in  the  Crimea  is  dreadful  now.  Still 
Olga  A.  is  happy  with  her  little  Tichon  whom  she  is  nursing 
herself.  They  have  no  servants  so  she  and  N.  A.  look  after 
everything.  Dobiasgin,  we  hear,  has  died  of  cancer.  The 
needlework  you  sent  me  was  the  only  token  we  have  received 
from  any  of  our  friends.  Where  is  poor  Catherine?  We 
suffer  so  for  all,  and  we  pray  for  all  of  you.  That  is  all  we 
can  do.  The  weather  is  bad  these  last  few  days,  and  I  never 
venture  out  because  my  heart  is  not  behaving  very  well.  I 
get  a  great  deal  of  consolation  reading  the  Bible.  I  often 
read  it  to  the  children,  and  I  am  sure  that  you  also  read  it. 
Write  soon  again.  We  all  kiss  and  bless  you.  May  God 
sustain  and  keep  you.     My  heart  is  full,  but  words  are  feeble 


Yours,         A. 

The  jacket  warms  and  comforts  me.  I  am  surrounded  by 
your  dear  presents,  the  blue  dressing  gown,  red  slippers,  silver 
tray  and  spoon,  the  stick,  etc.  The  ikon  I  wear.  I  do  not 
remember  the  people  you  are  living  with  now.  Did  you  see 
the  regimental  priest  from  Peterhof?  Ask  the  prayers  of 
O.  Hovari  for  us.  God  be  with  you.  Love  to  your  parents. 
Madeleine  and  Anna  are  still  in  Petrograd. 

Card  from  Alexei,  November  24,  19 17. 

'This  was  the  house  and  the  room  I  occupied  in  my  stay  in  Tobolsk 
on  my  second  visit  to  Siberia. 


I  remember  you  often  and  am  very  sad.  I  remember  your 
little  house.  We  cut  wood  in  the  daytime  for  our  baths.  The 
days  pass  very  quickly.     Greetings  to  all. 

On  the  same  day  the  Empress  wrote  me  a  short 
letter  In  English. 

Yesterday  I  received  your  letter  dated  November  6,  and 
I  thank  you  for  it  from  my  heart.  It  was  such  a  joy  to  hear 
from  you  and  to  think  how  merciful  is  God  to  have  given  you 
this  compensation.  Your  life  in  town  must  be  more  than  un- 
pleasant, confined  in  stuffy  rooms,  steep  stairs  to  climb,  no 
lovely  walks  possible,  horrors  all  around  you.  Poor  child! 
You  know  that  in  heart  and  soul  I  am  near  you,  sharing  all 
your  pain  and  sorrow  and  praying  for  you  fervently.  Every 
day  I  read  in  the  book  you  gave  me  seven  years  ago,  "Day 
by  Day,"  and  like  it  very  much.  There  are  lovely  passages 
in  it. 

The  weather  is  very  changeable,  frost,  sunshine,  then  dark- 
ness and  thawings.  Desperately  dull  for  those  who  enjoy  long 
walks  and  are  deprived  of  them.  Lessons  continue  as  usual. 
Mother  and  daughters  work  and  knit  a  great  deal,  making 
Christmas  presents.  How  time  flies !  In  two  weeks  more  it 
will  be  eight  months  since  I  saw  you  last.  And  you,  my  little 
one,  so  far  away  in  loneliness  and  sorrow.  But  you  know 
where  to  seek  consolation  and  strength,  and  you  know  that 
God  will  never  forsake  you.    His  love  is  over  all. 

On  the  whole  we  are  all  well,  since  I  do  not  count  chills 
and  colds.  Alexei's  knee  and  arm  swell  from  time  to  time, 
but  happily  without  any  pain.  My  heart  has  not  been  behav- 
ing very  well.  I  read  much,  and  live  in  the  past,  which  is  so 
full  of  rich  memories.  I  have  full  trust  in  a  brighter  future. 
He  will  never  forsake  those  who  love  and  trust  in  His  infinite 
mercy,  and  when  we  least  expect  it  He  will  send  help,  and  will 
save  our  unhappy  country.     Patience,  faith  and  truth. 


How  did  you  like  the  two  little  colored  cards?  I  have  not 
heard  from  Lili  Dehn  for  three  months.  It  is  hard  to  be  cut 
off  from  all  one's  dear  friends.  I  am  so  glad  that  your  old 
servant  and  Nastia  are  with  you,  but  where  are  the  maids, 
Zina  and  Mainia?  So  Father  Makari  has  left  us.  But  he  is 
really  nearer  than  he  was  before. 

Our  thoughts  will  be  very  close  together  next  month.  You 
remember  our  last  journey  and  what  followed.  After  this 
anniversary  it  seems  to  me  that  God  will  show  mercy.  Kiss 
Praskovia  and  the  children  for  me.  The  maid  Liza  and  the 
girls  have  not  come  yet.  All  of  us  send  tenderest  love,  bless- 
ings and  kisses.  God  bless  you,  dearest  friend.  Keep  a  brave 

P.  S.  I  should  like  to  send  you  a  little  food,  some  macaroni 
for  instance. 

Up  to  this  time,  nearly  the  end  of  the  year  19 17, 
the  Imperial  Family  in  exile  were  treated  with  a  certain 
degree  of  consideration.  They  had  plenty  of  food 
and  a  limited  freedom.  In  the  next  letter  I  received 
from  the  Empress,  dated  December  8,  she  speaks  with 
gratitude  of  the  fact  that  some  of  her  favorite  books 
were  permitted  to  be  retained  by  her,  as  a  little  later 
she  overflows  with  gratitude  to  one  of  the  Bolshevist 
Commissars  who  sent  her  a  few  familiar  pictures  and 
trinkets  from  the  old  home  in  Tsarskoe  Selo.  Little 
by  little,  however,  privileges  were  taken  from  the 
family,  and  their  status  became  that  of  criminal  pris- 
oners. I  leave  this  to  be  shown  in  the  letters  which 
follow.  On  December  8,  19 17,  the  Empress  wrote 
me,  in  Russian,  a  letter  which  shows  how  poignantly 
she  and  the  Emperor  felt  the  desperate  situation  in 


My  darling:  In  thoughts  and  prayers  we  are  always  to- 
gether. Still  it  is  hard  not  to  see  each  other.  My  heart  is 
so  full,  there  is  so  much  I  would  like  to  know,  so  many  thoughts 
I  should  like  to  share  with  you.  But  we  hope  the  time  will 
come  when  we  shall  see  each  other,  and  all  the  old  friends  who 
now  are  scattered  in  different  parts  of  the  world. 

I  am  sorry  you  have  had  a  misunderstanding  with  one  of 
your  best  friends.  That  should  never  happen.  This  is  no 
time  to  judge  one's  friends,  every  one  of  us  being  on  such  an 
unnatural  strain. 

We  here  live  far  from  everybody  and  life  is  quiet,  but  we 
read  of  all  the  horrors  that  are  going  on.  But  I  shall  not  speak 
of  them.  You  live  in  their  very  center,  and  that  is  enough  for 
you  to  bear.  Petty  troubles  surround  us.  The  maids  have 
been  in  Tobolsk  four  days  and  yet  they  are  not  allowed  to 
come  to  our  house,  although  it  was  promised  that  they  should. 
How  pitiful  this  everlasting  suspicion  and  fear.  I  suppose  it 
will  be  the  same  with  Isa.*  Nobody  is  now  allowed  to  approach 
us,  but  I  hope  they  will  soon  see  how  stupid  and  brutal  and 
unfair  it  is  to  keep  them  (the  maids)  waiting. 

It  is  very  cold — 24  degrees  of  frost.  We  shiver  in  the 
rooms,  and  there  is  always  a  strong  draught  from  the  windows. 
Your  pretty  jacket  is  so  useful.  We  all  have  chilblains  on 
our  fingers.  (You  remember  how  you  suffered  from  them  in 
your  cold  little  house?)  I  am  writing  this  while  resting  be- 
fore dinner.  Little  Jimmy  lies  near  me  while  his  mistress 
plays  the  piano.  On  the  6th  Alexei,  Marie,  and  Gilik  (M.  Gil- 
liard)  acted  a  little  play  for  us.  The  others  are  committing 
to  memory  scenes  from  French  plays.  Excellent  distraction, 
and  good  for  the  memory.  The  evenings  we  spend  together. 
He  reads  aloud  to  us,  and  I  embroider.  I  am  very  busy  all 
day  preparing  Christmas  presents;  painting  ribbons  for  book 
markers,  and  cards  as  of  old.     I  also  have  lessons  with  the 

'Baroness  Buxhoevden,  lady  in  waiting. 


children,  as  the  priest  is  no  longer  permitted  to  come.  But 
I  like  these  lessons  very  much.  So  many  things  come  back 
to  my  mind.  I  am  reading  with  pleasure  the  works  of  Arch- 
bishop Wissky.  I  did  not  have  them  formerly.  Lately  also 
I  have  read  Tichon  Zadonsky.  In  spite  of  everything  I  was 
able  to  bring  some  of  my  favorite  books  with  me.  Do  you 
read  the  Bible  I  gave  you?  Do  you  know  that  there  is  now  a 
much  more  complete  edition?  I  have  given  one  to  the  chil- 
dren, and  I  have  managed  to  get  a  large  one  for  myself.  There 
are  some  beautiful  passages  in  the  Proverbs  of  Solomon.  The 
Psalms  also  give  me  peace.  Dear,  we  understand  each  other. 
I  thank  you  for  everything,  and  in  memory  I  live  over  again 
our  happy  past. 

One  of  our  former  wounded  men,  Pr.  Eristoff,  is  in  hospital 
again.  I  don't  know  the  reason.  If  possible  give  hearty  greet- 
ings to  him  from  us  all.  Give  sincere  thanks  and  greetings 
to  Madame  S.  and  her  husband.     God  bless  and  comfort  him. 

Where  are  Serge  (Mme.  Viroubova's  brother)  and  his  wife? 
I  received  a  touching  letter  from  Zina.  I  know  the  past  is  all 
done  with,  but  I  thank  God  for  all  that  we  have  received,  and  I 
live  in  the  memory  that  cannot  be  taken  from  me.  Still  I 
worry  often  for  my  dearly  loved,  far  distant,  foolish  little 
friend.  I  am  glad  that  you  have  resumed  your  maiden  name. 
Give  greetings  to  Emma  F.,  the  English  Red  Cross  nurse,  and 
to  your  dear  parents. 

On  the  6th  we  had  service  at  home,  not  being  allowed  to 
go  to  church  on  account  of  some  kind  of  a  disturbance.  I 
have  not  been  out  in  the  fresh  air  for  four  weeks.  I  can't  go 
out  in  such  bitter  weather  because  of  my  heart.  Nevertheless 
church  draws  me  almost  irresistibly. 

I  showed  your  photographs  to  Valia  and  Gilik.  I  did  not 
want  to  show  them  to  the  ladies,  your  face  is  too  dear  and 
precious  to  me.  Nastinka  is  too  distant.  She  is  very  sweet, 
but  she  does  not  seem  near  to  me.    All  my  dear  ones  are  far 


away.  But  I  am  surrounded  by  their  photographs  and  gifts — 
jackets,  dressing  gowns,  slippers,  silver  dish,  spoons,  and  ikons. 
How  I  would  like  to  send  you  something,  but  I  fear  it  would 
get  lost.  I  kiss  you  tenderly,  love,  and  bless  you.  We  all  kiss 
you.  He  was  touched  by  your  letter  of  congratulation.  We 
pray  for  you,  and  we  think  of  you,  not  always  without  tears. 


The  next  day  the  Empress  wrote  again. 

This  is  the  feast  day  of  the  Virgin  of  Unexpected  Joy.  I 
always  read  the  day's  service,  and  I  know  that  you,  dear,  do 
the  same.  It  is  the  anniversary  of  our  last  journey  together, 
to  Saratoff.  Do  you  remember  how  lovely  it  was?  The  old 
holy  woman  is  dead  now,  but  I  keep  her  ikon  always  near 
me,  .  .  ,  Yesterday  it  was  nine  months  since  we  were  taken 
into  captivity,  and  more  than  four  months  since  we  came  here. 
Which  of  the  English  nurses  was  it  who  wrote  to  me?  I  am 
surprised  to  hear  that  Nini  Voyeikoff  and  her  family  did  not 
receive  the  ikons  I  sent  them  before  leaving.  Give  kind  regards 
to  your  faithful  old  servant  and  Nastia.  This  year  I  cannot 
give  them  anything  for  their  Christmas  tree.  How  sad.  My 
dear,  you  are  splendid.  Christ  be  with  you.  Give  my  thanks  to 
Fathers  John  and  Dosifei  for  their  remembrance.  I  am  writing 
this  morning  in  bed.  Jimmy  is  sleeping  nearly  under  my  nose 
and  interfering  with  my  writing.  Ortipo  lies  on  my  feet  and 
keeps  them  warm. 

Fancy  that  the  kind  Kommissar  Makaroff  sent  me  my  pic- 
tures two  months  ago,  St.  Simeon  Nesteroffs,  the  little  Annun- 
ciation from  the  bedroom,  four  small  prints  from  my  mauve 
room,  five  pastels  of  Kaulbach,  four  enlarged  snapshots  from 
Livadia;  Tatania  and  me,  Alexei  as  sentry,  Alexander  HI, 
Nicholas  I,  and  also  a  small  carpet  from  my  bedroom. 

My  wicker  lounge  chair  too  is  standing  in  my  bedroom  now. 
Among  the  other  cushions  is  the  one  filled  with  rose  leaves 


given  me  by  the  Tartar  women.  It  has  been  with  me  all  the 
way.  At  the  last  moment  of  the  night  at  Tsarskoe  I  took  it 
with  me,  slept  on  it  on  the  train  and  on  the  boat,  and  the 
lovely  smell  refreshed  me.  Have  you  had  any  news  of  Gaham 
(Chief  of  the  Karaim)  ?  Write  to  him  and  give  him  my  re- 
gards. One  of  our  former  wounded,  Sirobojarski,  has  visited 
him.  There  are  22  degrees  of  frost  today,  but  bright  sun- 
shine. Do  you  remember  the  sister  of  mercy  K.  M.  Bitner? 
She  is  giving  the  children  lessons.  What  luck!  The  days 
fly.  It  is  Saturday  again,  and  we  shall  have  evening  service 
at  nine.  A  corner  of  the  drawing  room  has  been  arranged 
with  our  ikons  and  lamps.  It  is  homelike — but  not  church. 
I  got  so  used  to  going  almost  daily  for  three  years  to  the  church 
of  Znamenia  before  going  on  to  the  hospitals  at  Tsarskoe. 

I  advise  you  to  write  to  M.  Gilliard.  (Now  I  have  refilled 
my  fountain  pen.)  Would  you  like  some  macaroni  and  coffee? 
I  hope  soon  to  send  you  some.  It  is  so  difficult  for  me  here  to 
take  the  vegetables  out  of  the  soup  without  eating  any  of  it.^ 
It  is  easy  for  me  to  fast  and  to  do  without  fresh  air  but  I  sleep 
badly.  Yet  I  hardly  feel  any  of  the  ills  of  the  flesh.  My  heart 
is  better,  as  I  live  such  a  quiet  life,  almost  without  exercise. 
I  have  been  very  thin  but  it  is  less  noticeable  now,  although  my 
gowns  are  like  sacks.     I  am  quite  gray  too. 

The  spirits  of  the  whole  family  are  good.  God  is  very  near 
us,  we  feel  His  support,  and  are  often  amazed  that  we  can 
endure  events  and  separations  which  once  might  have  killed 
us.  Although  we  suffer  horribly  still  there  is  peace  in  our  souls. 
I  suffer  most  for  Russia,  and  I  suffer  for  you  too,  but  I  know 
that  ultimately  all  will  be  for  the  best.  Only  I  don't  under- 
stand anything  any  longer.  Everyone  seems  to  have  gone  mad. 
I  think  of  you  daily  and  love  you  dearly.  You  are  splendid  and 
I  know  how  wonderfully  you  have  grown.     Do  you  remember 

°  The  Empress  Alexandra  Feodorovna  "was  always  a  strict  vege- 


the  picture  by  Nesteroffs,  Christ's  Bride?  Does  the  convent 
still  attract  you  in  spite  of  your  new  friend?  God  will  direct 
everything.  I  want  to  believe  that  I  shall  see  your  buildings 
(my  hospital)  in  the  style  of  a  convent.  Where  are  the  sisters 
of  mercy  Mary  and  Tatiana?  What  has  become  of  Princess 
Chakoffskaia,  and  has  she  married  her  friend?  Old  Madame 
Orloff  has  written  me  that  her  grandson  John  was  killed  in 
the  War,  and  that  his  fiancee  killed  herself  from  grief.  Now 
they  are  buried  beside  his  father. 

My  regards  to  my  dear  Lancers,  to  Jakoleff,  Father  John, 
and  others.  Pray  for  them  all.  I  am  sure  that  God  will  have 
mercy  on  our  Russia.  Has  she  not  atoned  for  her  awful 

My  love,  burn  my  letters.  It  is  better.  I  have  kept  noth- 
ing of  the  dear  past.  We  all  kiss  you  tenderly  and  bless  you. 
God  is  great  and  will  not  forsake  those  encircled  by  His  love. 
Dear  child,  I  shall  be  thinking  of  you  especially  during  Christ- 
mas. I  hope  that  we  will  meet  again,  but  where  and  how  is 
in  His  hands.  We  must  leave  it  all  to  Him  who  knows  all 
better  than  we. 

During  that  December  I  had  the  happiness  of  re- 
ceiving letters  from  the  Emperor,  Alexei,  and  the 
Grand  Duchesses  Tatiana,  Olga,  and  Anastasie.  The 
Emperor  wrote  acknowledging  a  note  of  mine  written 
on  his  name  day. 

Tobolsk,  lo  December,   191 7. 

Thank  you  so  much  for  your  kind  wishes  on  my  name  day. 
Our  thoughts  and  prayers  are  always  with  you,  poor  suffering 
creature.  Her  Majesty  reads  to  us  all  your  lines.  Horrid  to 
think  all  you  had  to  go  through.  We  are  all  right  here.  It 
is  quite  quiet.  Pity  you  are  not  with  us.  Kisses  and  blessings 
without  end  from  your  loving  friend,  N. 

Give  my  best  love  to  your  parents. 


The  children's  letters  were  devoured  because  they 
gave  so  many  details  of  the  family  life  in  Tobolsk. 
On  December  9  Tatiana  wrote : 

My  darling:  I  often  think  and  pray  for  you,  and  we  are 
always  remembering  and  speaking  of  you.  It  is  hard  that  we 
cannot  see  each  other,  but  God  will  surely  help  us,  and  we 
will  meet  again  in  better  times.  We  wear  the  frocks  your 
kind  friends  sent  us,  and  your  little  gifts  are  always  with  us, 
reminding  us  of  you.  We  live  quietly  and  peacefully.  The 
days  pass  quickly.  In  the  morning  we  have  lessons,  walk  from 
eleven  to  twelve  before  the  house  in  a  place  surrounded  for 
us  by  a  high  board  fence.  We  lunch  together  downstairs,  some- 
times Mamma  and  Alexei  with  us,  but  generally  they  lunch 
upstairs  alone  in  Papa's  study.  In  the  afternoon  we  go  out 
again  for  half  an  hour  if  it  is  not  too  cold.  Tea  upstairs,  and 
then  we  read  or  write.  Sometimes  Papa  reads  aloud,  and  so 
goes  by  every  day.  On  Saturdays  we  have  evening  service  in 
the  big  hall  at  nine  o'clock.  Until  that  hour  the  priest  has 
to  serve  in  the  church.  On  Sundays,  when  we  are  allowed, 
we  go  to  a  near-by  church  at  eight  o'clock  in  the  morning.  We 
go  on  foot  through  a  garden,  the  soldiers  who  came  here  with 
us  standing  all  around.  They  serve  mass  for  us  separately, 
and  then  have  a  mass  for  everybody.  On  holidays,  alas,  we 
have  to  have  small  service  at  home.  We  had  to  have  home 
service  on  the  6th  (St.  Nicholas'  day),  and  it  was  sad  on  such 
a  big  holiday  not  to  be  in  church,  but  one  can't  have  everything 
one  wants,  can  one?  I  hope  you  at  least  can  go  to  church. 
How  are  your  heart  and  your  poor  legs?  Do  you  see  the  doctor 
of  your  hospital?  You  remember  how  we  used  to  tease  you. 
Greetings  to  your  old  servants.  Where  are  your  brother  and 
his  wife?  Have  they  got  a  baby?  God  bless  you,  my  darling 
beloved.  All  our  letters  (permitted  letters)  go  through  the 
Kommissar.  I  am  glad  that  the  parents  of  Eristoff  are  kind 
to  you.     Him  I  remember  well,  but  I  never  saw  the  parents. 


Isa  has  not  come  yet.     Has  she  been  to  see  you?    I  kiss  you 

tenderly  and  love  you. 

Your  T. 

My  darling  dear  Annia,  How  happy  I  was  to  hear  from 
you.  Thank  you  for  the  letter  and  the  things.  I  wrote  to  you 
yesterday.  It  is  so  strange  to  be  staying  in  the  house  where 
you  stayed.  Remember  that  we  are  sending  this  parcel  se- 
cretly, so  don't  mention  it.  It  is  the  only  time  probably  that 
we  can  do  it.  Yesterday's  letter  I  sent  through  the  Kommis- 
sar.  I  am  always  thinking  of  you,  my  darling.  We  speak  much 
of  you  among  ourselves  and  also  to  Gilik,  Valia,  Prince  Dol- 
gorouky,  and  Mr.  Gibbs.  I  wear  your  bracelet  and  never  take 
it  off,  the  one  you  gave  me  on  January  12,  my  name  day.  You 
remember  that  cozy  evening  by  the  fireside?  How  nice  it  was. 
Did  you  ever  see  Groten  and  Linevitch  ?  ®  Well,  good-bye, 
my  darling  Annia.    I  kiss  you  tenderly  and  love  you. 

Your  T. 

From  the  Grand  Duke  Alexei,  December  10,  19 17. 

My  darling,  I  hope  you  got  my  postcard.    Thank  you  very, 

very  much  for  the  little  mushroom.    Your  perfumes  remind  us 

so  much  of  you.    Every  day  I  pray  God  we  shall  live  together 

again.    God  bless  you. 

Yours,  A. 

From  the  Grand  Duchess  Olga  on  the  same  date. 

My  darling,  what  joy  it  was  to  see  your  dear  handwriting, 
and  all  the  little  things.  Thanks  awfully  for  all.  Your  per- 
fumes reminded  us  so  of  you,  your  cabin  on  board,  etc.  It 
was  very  sad.    I  remember  you  often,  kiss  and  love  you.    We 

*  Groten  and  Linevitch  were  the  two  aides-de-camp  who  were  so 
devoted  to  the  family  during  the  trying  period  before  the  Revolution. 
Afterwards  they  were  denied  entrance  to  the  palace. 


four  live  in  the  corner  blue  room,  arranged  all  quite  cozily. 
Opposite  to  us  in  the  little  room  is  Papa's  dressing  room  and 
Alexei's,  then  comes  his  room  with  Nagori.  The  brown  room 
is  Papa's  and  Mamma's  bedroom.  Then  the  sitting  room, 
big  hall,  and  beyond  Papa's  studJ^  When  there  are  big  frosts 
it  is  very  cold,  and  draughts  blow  from  all  the  windows.  We 
were  today  in  church.  Well,  I  wish  you  a  peaceful  and  sunny 
Christmas.  God  bless  you,  darling.  I  kiss  you  over  and  over 

Ever  your  own  Olga. 

From  the  Grand  Duchess  Anastasie. 

My  darling  and  dear:  Thank  you  tenderly  for  your  little 
gift.  It  was  so  nice  to  have  it,  reminding  me  especially  of 
you.  We  remember  and  speak  of  you  often,  and  in  our 
prayers  we  are  always  together.  The  little  dog  you  gave  is 
always  with  us  and  is  very  nice.  We  have  arranged  our  rooms 
comfortably  and  all  four  live  together.  We  often  sit  in  the 
windows  looking  at  the  people  passing,  and  this  gives  us  dis- 
traction. .  .  .  We  have  acted  little  plays  for  amusement.  We 
walk  in  the  garden  behind  high  planks.  .  .  .  God  bless  you. 


From  the  Empress. 

My  own  precious  child:  It  seems  strange  writing  in  Eng- 
lish  after  nine  weary  months.     We  are  doing  a 'risky  thing 

sending  this  parcel,  but  we  profit  through  who  is  still 

on  the  outside.  Only  promise  to  burn  all  we  write  as  it  could 
do  you  endless  harm  if  they  discovered  that  you  were  still  in 
contact  with  us.  Therefore  don't  judge  those  who  are  afraid 
to  visit  you,  just  leave  time  for  people  to  quiet  down.  You 
cannot  imagine  the  joy  of  getting  your  sweet  letters.  I  have 
read  and  reread  them  over  and  over  to  myself  and  to  the  others. 
We  all  share  the  anguish,  and  the  misery,  and  the  joy  to  know 
that  you  are  free  at  last.     I  won't  speak  of  what  you  have 


gone  through.    Forget  it,  with  the  old  name  you  have  thrown 
away.     Now  live  again. 

One  has  so  much  to  say  that  one  ends  by  saying  nothing.  I 
am  unaccustomed  to  writing  anything  of  consequence,  just  short 
letters  or  cards,  nothing  of  consequence.  Your  perfume  quite 
overcame  us.  It  went  the  round  of  our  tea  table,  and  we  all 
saw  you  quite  clearly  before  us.  I  have  no  "white  rose"  to 
send  you,  and  could  only  scent  the  shawl  with  vervaine. 
Thanks  for  your  own  mauve  bottle,  the  lovely  blue  silk  jacket, 
and  the  excellent  pastilles.  The  children  and  Father  were  so 
touched  with  the  things  you  sent,  which  vi^e  remember  so  well, 
and  packed  up  at  Tsarskoe.  We  have  none  of  such  things  with 
us,  so  alas,  we  have  nothing  to  send  you.     I  hope  you  got  the 

food  through  and  Mme.  .     I  have  sent  you  at 

least  five  painted  cards,  always  to  be  recognized  by  my  sig- 
nature.    I  have  always  to  be  imagining  new  things! 

Yes,  God  is  wonderful  and  has  sent  you  (as  always)  in  great 
sorrow,  a  new  friend.  I  bless  him  for  all  that  he  has  done 
for  you,  and  I  cannot  refrain  from  sending  him  an  image,  as 
to  all  who  are  kind  to  you.  Excuse  this  bad  writing,  but  my 
pen  is  bad,  and  my  fingers  are  stiff  from  cold.  We  had  the 
blessing  of  going  to  church  at  eight  o'clock  this  morning.  They 
don't  always  allow  us  to  go.  The  maids  are  not  yet  let  in  as 
they  have  no  papers,  so  the  odious  commandant  doesn't  admit 
them.  The  soldiers  think  we  already  have  too  many  people 
with  us.  Well,  thanks  to  all  this  we  can  still  write  to  you. 
Something  good  always  comes  out  of  everything. 

Many  things  are  very  hard  .  .  .  our  hearts  are  ready  to 
burst  at  times.  Happily  there  is  nothing  in  this  place  that 
reminds  us  of  you.  This  is  better  than  it  was  at  home  where 
every  corner  was  full  of  you.  Ah,  child,  I  am  proud  of  you. 
Hard  lessons,  hard  school,  but  you  have  passed  your  examina- 
tions so  well.  Thanks,  child,  for  all  you  have  said  for  us,  for 
standing  up  for  us,  and  for  having  borne  all  for  our  own  and 


for  Russia's  sake.  God  alone  can  recompense  you,  for  if  He 
has  let  you  see  horrors  He  has  permitted  you  to  gaze  a  little 
into  yonder  world.  Our  souls  are  nearer  now  than  before. 
I  feel  especially  near  you  when  I  am  reading  the  Bible.  The 
children  also  are  always  finding  texts  suiting  you.  I  am  so 
contented  with  their  souls.  I  hope  God  will  bless  my  lessons 
with  Baby.  The  ground  is  rich,  but  is  the  seed  ripe  enough? 
I  do  try  my  utmost,  for  all  my  life  lies  in  this. 

Dear,  I  carry  you  always  with  me.  I  never  am  separated 
from  your  ring,  but  at  night  I  wear  it  on  my  bracelet  as  it  is  so 
loose  on  my  finger.  After  we  received  our  Friend's  cross  we 
got  also  this  cross  to  bear.  God  knows  it  is  painful  being  cut 
off  from  the  lives  of  those  dear  to  us,  after  being  accustomed 
for  years  to  share  every  thought.  But  my  child  has  grown 
self-dependent  with  time.  In  your  love  we  are  always  to- 
gether. I  wish  we  were  so  in  fact,  but  God  knows  best.  One 
learns  to  forget  personal  desires,  God  is  merciful  and  will 
never  forsake  His  children  who  trust  Him. 

I  do  hope  this  letter  and  parcel  will  reach  you  safely,  only 

you  had  better  write  and  tell  that  you  get  everything 

safely.  Nobody  here  must  dream  that  we  evade  them,  other- 
wise it  would  injure  the  kind  commandant  and  they  might 
remove  him. 

I  keep  myself  occupied  ceaselessly.  Lessons  begin  at  nine 
(in  bed).  Up  at  noon  for  religious  lessons  with  Tatiana, 
Marie,  Anastasie,  and  Alexei.  I  have  a  German  lesson  three 
times  a  week  with  Tatiana  and  once  with  Marie,  besides  read- 
ing with  Tatiana.  Also  I  sew,  embroider,  and  paint,  with  spec- 
tacles on  because  my  eyes  have  become  too  weak  to  do  with- 
out them.  I  read  "good  books"  a  great  deal,  love  the  Bible, 
and  from  time  to  time  read  novels.  I  am  so  sad  because  they 
are  allowed  no  walks  except  before  the  house  and  behind  a 
high  fence.  But  at  least  they  have  fresh  air,  and  we  are  grate- 
ful for  anything.     He  is  simply  marvelous.     Such  meekness 


while  all  the  time  suffering  intensely  for  the  country.  A 
real  marvel.  The  others  are  all  good  and  brave  and  un- 
complaining, and  Alexei  is  an  angel.  He  and  I  dine  a  deux 
and  generally  lunch  so,  but  sometimes  downstairs  with  the 

They  don't  allow  the  priest  to  come  to  us  for  lessons,  and 
even  during  services  officers,  commandant  and  Kommissar, 
stand  near  by  to  prevent  any  conversation  between  us. 
Strangely  enough  Germogene  is  Bishop  here,  but  at  present 
he  is  in  Moscow.  We  have  had  no  news  from  my  old  home 
or  from  England.  All  are  well,  we  hear,  in  the  Crimea,  but 
the  Empress  Dowager  has  grown  old  and  very  sad  and  tear- 
ful. As  for  me  my  heart  is  better  as  I  lead  such  a  quiet  life. 
I  feel  utter  trust  and  faith  that  all  will  be  well,  that  this  is 
the  worst,  and  that  soon  the  sun  will  be  shining  brightly.  But 
oh,  the  victims,  and  the  innocent  blood  yet  to  be  shed!  We 
fear  that  Baby's  other  little  friend  from  Mogiloff  who  was 
at  M.  has  been  killed,  as  his  name  was  included  among  cadets 
killed  at  Moscow.  Oh,  God,  save  Russia!  That  is  the  cry 
of  one's  soul,  morning,  noon  and  night.  Only  not  that  shame- 
less peace.^ 

I  hope  you  got  yesterday's  letter  through   Mme.  *s 

son-in-law.  How  nice  that  you  have  him  in  charge  of  your 
affairs.  Today  my  mind  is  full  of  Novgorod  and  the  awful 
I7th.^  Russia  must  suffer  for  that  murder  too.  Dear,  I  am 
glad  you  see  me  in  your  dreams.  I  have  seen  you  only  twice, 
vaguely,  but  some  day  we  shall  be  together  again.  When?  I 
do  not  ask.  He  alone  knows.  How  can  one  ask  more?  We 
simply  give  thanks  for  every  day  safely  ended.  I  hope  no- 
body will  ever  see  these  letters,  as  the  smallest  thing  makes 
them  react  upon  us  with  severity.  That  is  to  say  we  get  no 
church  services  outside  or  in.     The  suite  and  the  maids  may 

^  Brest-Litovsk. 

"Anniversary  of  Rasputine's  assassination. 


leave  the  house  only  if  guarded  by  soldiers,  so  of  course  they 
avoid  going.     Some  of  the  soldiers  are  kind,  others  horrid. 

Forgive  this  mess,  but  I  am  in  a  hurry  and  the  table  is 
crowded  with  painting  materials.  So  glad  you  liked  my  old 
blue  book.  I  have  not  a  line  of  yours — all  the  past  is  a  dream. 
One  keeps  only  tears  and  grateful  memories.  One  by  one  all 
earthly  things  slip  away,  houses  and  possessions  ruined,  friends 
vanished.  One  lives  from  day  to  day.  But  God  is  in  all,  and 
nature  never  changes.  I  can  see  all  around  me  churches  (long 
to  go  to  them),  and  hills,  the  lovely  world.  Wolkoff  wheels 
me  in  my  chair  to  church  across  the  street  from  the  public 
garden.  Some  of  the  people  bow  and  bless  us,  but  others  don't 
dare.  All  our  letters  and  parcels  are  examined,  but  this  one 
today  is  contraband.  Father  and  Alexei  are  sad  to  think  they 
have  nothing  to  send  3'ou,  and  I  can  only  clasp  my  weary  child 
in  my  arms  and  hold  her  there  as  of  old.  I  feel  old,  oh,  so  old, 
but  I  am  still  the  mother  of  this  country,  and  I  suffer  its  pains 
as  my  own  child's  pains,  and  I  love  it  in  spite  of  all  its  sins 
and  horrors.  No  one  can  tear  a  child  from  its  mother's  heart, 
and  neither  can  you  tear  away  one's  country,  although  Russia's 
black  ingratitude  to  the  Emperor  breaks  my  heart.  Not  that  it 
is  the  whole  country,  though.  God  have  mercy  and  save 

Little  friend,  Christmas  without  me — up  in  the  sixth  story! 
My  beloved  child,  long  ago  I  took  you  to  hold  in  my  heart  and 
never  to  be  separated.  In  my  heart  is  love  and  forgiveness  for 
everything,  though  at  times  I  am  not  as  patient  as  I  ought  to 
be.  I  get  angry  when  people  are  dishonest,  or  when  they  un- 
necessarily hurt  and  offend  those  I  love.  Father,  on  the  other 
hand,  bears  everything.  He  wrote  to  you  of  his  own  accord.  I 
did  not  ask  him.  Please  thank  everybody  who  wrote  to  us  in 
English.  But  the  less  they  know  we  correspond  the  better, 
otherwise  they  may  stop  all  letters. 

Ever  your  own,  A. 


The  increasing  poverty  and  hardships  which  sur- 
rounded the  exiles,  to  say  nothing  of  the  lonely  desola- 
tion of  their  lives,  could  not  be  kept  out  of  the  Em- 
press's letters,  although  she  tried  to  write  cheerfully. 
I  could  read,  in  the  growing  discursiveness  of  her  con- 
traband letters,  the  disturbed  and  abnormal  condition 
of  her  usual  keen  and  concise  mind.  On  December  15, 
19 1 7,  she  wrote: 

Dearest  little  one:     Again  I  am  writing  to  you,  and  you 

must  thank and  reply  carefully.    My  maids  are  not  yet 

allowed  to  come  to  me,  although  they  have  been  here  eleven 
days.  I  don't  know  how  it  will  come  out.  Isa  (Baroness 
Buxhoevden,  lady  in  waiting)  is  ill  again.  I  hear  that  she  will 
be  allowed  in  when  she  arrives,  as  she  has  a  permis,  but  I  doubt 
it.  I  understand  j'our  wounded  feelings  when  she  did  not  go 
to  see  you,  but  does  she  know  your  address?  She  is  timid,  and 
her  conscience  in  regard  to  you  is  not  quite  clear.  She  remem- 
bers perhaps  my  words  to  her  last  Autumn  that  there  might 
come  a  time  when  she  too  would  be  taken  from  me  and  not 
allowed  to  return.  She  lives  in  the  Gorochovaia  with  a  niece. 
Zizi  Narishkine  (a  former  lady  in  waiting)  lives  in  the  Ser- 
gievskja,  54. 

I  hope  you  will  receive  the  things  we  sent  for  Christmas. 
Anna  and  Wolkoff  helped  me  to  send  the  parcels,  the  others 

I  sent  through ,  so  I  make  use  of  the  opportunity  to  write 

to  you.  Be  sure  to  write  when  you  receive  them.  I  make  a 
note  in  my  book  whenever  I  write.  I  have  drawn  some  post- 
cards. Did  you  receive  them?  One  of  these  days  I  shall  send 
you  some  flour. 

It  is  bright  sunshine  and  everj^hing  glitters  with  hoar 
frost.  There  are  such  moonlight  nights,  it  must  be  ideal  on  the 
hills.  But  my  poor  unfortunates  can  only  pace  up  and  down 
the  narrow  yard.    How  I  long  to  take  Communion.    We  took 



it  last  on  October  22,  but  now  it  is  so  awkward,  one  has  to 
ask  permission  before  doing  the  least  thing.  I  am  reading 
Solomon  and  the  writings  of  St.  Seraph,  every  time  finding 
something  new.  How  glad  I  am  that  none  of  your  things  got 
lost,  the  albums  I  left  with  mine  in  the  trunk.  It  is  dreary 
without  them,  but  still  better  so,  for  it  would  hurt  to  look  at 
them. and  remember.  Some  thoughts  one  is  obliged  to  drive 
away,  they  are  too  poignant,  too  fresh  in  one's  memory.  All 
things  for  us  are  in  the  past,  and  what  the  future  holds  I  cannot 
guess,  but  God  knows,  and  I  have  given  everything  into  His 
keeping.  Pray  for  us  and  for  those  we  love,  and  especially  for 
Russia  when  you  are  at  the  shrine  of  the  "All-Hearing  Virgin." 
I  love  her  beautiful  face.  I  have  asked  Chemoduroff  to  take 
out  a  prayer  (slip  of  paper  with  names  of  you  all)  on  Sunday. 

Where  is  your  poor  old  Grandmamma?  I  often  think  of 
her  in  her  loneliness,  and  of  your  stories  after  you  had  been 
to  see  her.  Who  will  wish  you  a  happy  Christmas  on  the 
telephone?  Where  is  Serge  and  his  wife?  Where  is  Alex- 
ander Pavlovitch?  Did  you  know  that  Linewitch  had  mar- 
ried, and  Groten  also,  straight  from  the  Fortress?  Have  you 
seen  Mania  Rebinder?  This  Summer  they  were  still  at  Pav- 
lovskoie,  but  since  we  left  we  have  heard  nothing  of  them. 
Where  are  Bishops  Isidor  and  Melchisedek?  Is  it  true  that 
Protopopoff  has  creeping  paralysis?  Poor  old  man,  I  under- 
stand that  he  has  not  been  able  to  write  anything  yet,  his 
experiences  being  too  near.  Strange  are  our  lives,  are  they  not? 
One  could  write  volumes. 

Zinaida  Tolstoaia  and  her  husband  have  been  in  Odessa 
for  some  time.  They  write  frequently,  dear  people.  Rita 
Hitrovo  is  staying  with  them,  but  she  scarcely  writes  at  all. 
They  are  expecting  Lili  Dehn  soon,  but  I  have  heard  nothing 
from  her  for  four  months.  One  of  our  wounded,  Sedloff,  is 
also  in  Odessa.     Do  you  know  anything  of  Malama?®     Did 

*A  wounded  officer  and  friend. 


Eristoff  give  you  Tatiana's  letter?  Baida  Apraxin  and  the 
whole  family  except  the  husband  are  in  Yalta.  He  is  in 
Moscow  at  the  church  conference.  Professor  Serge  Petro- 
vitch  is  also  in  Moscow.  Petroff  was,  and  Konrad  is,  in  Tsar- 
skoe.  There  too  is  Marie  Rudiger  BelaiefE.  Constadious, 
our  old  general,  is  dead.  I  try  to  give  you  news  of  all,  though 
you  probably  know  more  than  I  do. 

The  children  wear  the  brooches  that  Mme.  Soukhomlinof? 
sent  them.  Mine  I  hung  over  a  frame.  Do  you  ever  see  old 
Mme.  Orloff  ?  Her  grandson  John  was  killed,  and  her  Alexei 
is  far  away.     It  is  sad  for  the  poor  old  woman. 

I  am  knitting  stockings  for  the  small  one  (Alexei).  He 
asked  for  a  pair  as  all  his  are  in  holes.  Mine  are  warm  and 
thick  like  the  ones  I  gave  the  wounded,  do  you  remember? 
I  make  everything  now.  Father's  trousers  are  torn  and  darned, 
the  girls'  under-linen  in  rags.  Dreadful,  is  it  not?  I  have 
grown  quite  gray.  Anastasie,  to  her  despair,  is  now  very  fat, 
as  Marie  was,  round  and  fat  to  the  waist,  with  short  legs. 
I  do  hope  she  will  grow.  Olga  and  Tatiana  are  both  thin, 
but  their  hair  grows  beautifully  so  that  they  can  go  without 
scarfs.  Fancy  that  the  papers  say  that  Prince  Volodia  Trou- 
betskoy  has  joined  Kaledin  with  all  his  men.  Splendid !  I  am 
sure  that  N.  D.^''  will  take  part  also  now  that  he  is  serving  in 
Odessa.  I  find  myself  writing  in  English,  I  don't  know  why. 
Be  sure  to  burn  all  these  letters  as  at  any  time  your  house  may 
be  searched  again. 

"A  well-known  marine  officer. 


THROUGH  the  winter  and  spring  of  191 8  I  con- 
tinued to  receive  letters  and  parcels,  mostly  con- 
traband, from  my  friends  in  Siberia.  I  wish  I  dared  to 
tell  how  and  through  whom  these  precious  messages 
reached  me,  for  it  all  belongs  in  the  story  of  Revolu- 
tionary Russia.  It  illustrates  the  truth,  often  demon- 
strated, that  tyranny  and  oppression  can  never  kill  the 
spirit  of  freedom  in  human  beings.  There  are  al- 
ways a  minority  of  people  who  hold  their  lives  cheap 
by  comparison  with  liberty,  and  in  such  people  lives 
deathlessly  the  inspiration  of  fidelity  to  those  they 
love,  no  matter  how  relentlessly  the  loved  ones  are 
persecuted.  Poor  as  I  was,  poor  as  was  the  small 
group  of  friends  who  worked  with  me  to  communicate 
with  the  Imperial  Family,  we  managed  to  get  to  them 
the  necessities  they  lacked.  Dangerous  and  difficult  as 
travel  was  in  those  days,  every  traveler  being  almost 
certain  to  be  searched  several  times  along  the  way, 
there  were  three,  two  officers  and  a  young  girl,  who 
at  the  risk  of  imprisonment  and  death  by  the  most  un- 
speakable tortures,  calmly  and  fearlessly  acted  as  em- 
missaries  back  and  forth  between  Petrograd  and  re- 
mote Tobolsk.  They  had  friends  along  the  way,  of 
course,  but  how  they  managed,  through  months  of  con- 
stant peril,  to  carry  on  their  work  is  one  of  those 
mysteries  which,  to  my  mind,  are  not  wholly  earthly. 



On    January    9,    19 18,    I    received    the    following 
Christmas  letter  from  the  Empress. 

Thank  you,  darling,  for  all  your  letters  which  were  a  great 
joy  to  me  and  to  us  all.     On  Christmas  Eve  I  received  the 

letter  and  the  perfume,  then  more  scent  by  little  .     I 

regret  not  having  se^n  her.  Did  you  receive  the  parcels  sent 
through  the  several  friends,  flour,  coffee,  tea,  and  lapscha  (a 
kind    of    macaroni)  ?      The    letters    and    the    snapshots    sent 

through  ,  did  you  get  them?     I  am  worried  as  I  hear 

that  all  parcels  containing  food  are  opened.  I  begin  today  to 
number  my  letters,  and  you  must  keep  account  of  them.  Your 
cards,  the  small  silver  dish,  and  Lili's  tiny  silver  bell  I  have 
not  yet  been  able  to  receive. 

We  all  congratulate  you  on  your  name  day.  May  God 
bless,  comfort,  strengthen  you,  and  give  you  joy.  Believe, 
dear,  that  God  will  yet  save  our  beloved  country.  He  will  not 
be  unforgiving.  Think  of  the  Old  Testament  and  the  suffer- 
ings of  the  Children  of  Israel  for  their  sins.  And  now  it  is 
we  who  have  forgotten  God,  and  that  is  why  they  ^  cannot 
bring  any  happiness.  How  I  prayed  on  the  6th  that  God 
would  send  the  spirit  of  good  judgment  and  the  fear  of  the 
Lord.  Everyone  apparently  have  lost  their  heads.  The  reign 
of  terror  is  not  yet  over,  and  it  is  the  sufferings  of  the  inno- 
cent which  nearly  kills  us.  What  do  people  live  on  now  that 
everything  is  taken  from  them,  their  homes,  their  incomes, 
their  money?  We  must  have  sinned  terribly  for  our  Father  in 
Heaven  to  punish  so  frightfully.  But  I  firmly  and  unfal- 
teringly believe  that  in  the  end  He  will  save  us.  The  strange 
thing  about  the  Russian  character  is  that  it  can  so  suddenly 
change  to  evil,  cruelty,  and  unreason,  and  can  as  suddenly 
change  back  again.  This  is  in  fact  simply  want  of  character. 
Russians  are  in  reality  big,  ignorant  children.     However  it  is 

*  Presumably  the  Soviet  Government. 


well  known  that  during  long  wars  all  bad  passions  flame  up. 
What  is  happening  is  awful,  the  murders,  the  persecutions,  the 
imprisonments,  but  all  of  it  must  be  suffered  if  we  are  to  be 
cleansed,  new  born. 

Forgive  me,  darling,  that  I  write  to  you  so  sadly.  I  often 
wear  your  jackets,  the  blue  and  the  mauve,  as  it  is  fearfully 
cold  in  the  house.  Outside  the  frosts  are  not  often  severe, 
and  sometimes  I  go  out  and  even  sit  on  the  balcony.  The 
children  are  just  recovering  from  scarletina,  except  Anastasie, 
who  did  not  catch  it.  The  elder  ones  began  the  new  year  by 
being  in  bed,  JMarie,  of  course,  having  a  temperature  of  39.5. 
Their  hair  is  growing  well.  Lessons  have  begun  again.  Yes- 
terday I  gave  three.  Today  I  am  free,  and  am  therefore 
writing.  On  the  2nd  of  Januar}'  I  thought  of  you  and  sent 
a  candle  to  be  set  before  the  Holy  Seraphim.  I  have  asked 
that  prayers  may  be  said  in  the  cathedral  where  the  relics  lie, 
for  all  our  dear  ones.  You  remember  the  old  pilgrim  who 
came  to  Tsarskoe  Selo.  Fancy  that  he  has  been  here.  He 
wandered  in  with  his  big  staff,  and  sent  me  a  prosvera  (holy 

I  have  begun  your  books.  The  style  is  quite  different  from 
the  others.  I  have  got  myself  some  good  books,  too,  but  have 
not  much  time  for  reading.  I  embroider,  knit,  draw,  and  give 
lessons,  but  my  eyes  are  getting  weaker  so  that  I  can  no  longer 
work  without  glasses.  You  will  see  me  quite  an  old  woman ! 
Did  you  know  that  the  marine  officer  Nicolai  Demenkoff  has 
appendicitis?  He  is  in  Odessa.  One  of  our  wounded,  Orobor- 
jarsky,  was  operated  on  there  a  month  ago.  He  is  so  sad  and 
homesick,  so  far  away.  I  correspond  with  his  mother,  a  gentle, 
good,  and  really  Christian  soul.    Lili  Dehn  went  to  see  her. 

1  trust  you  received  the  painted  cards  that  I  put  in  the 
parcel  of  provisions.  Not  all  were  successful.  If  you  receive 
my  letters  just  write,  thanks  for  No.  i,  etc.  My  three  maids 
and  Isa  are  still  not  allowed  to  come  to  us,  and  they  are  very 


much  distressed,  just  sitting  idle.    But is  of  better  use 

on  the  outside.  Little  one,  where  are  your  brother  Serge 
and  his  wife?  I  know  nothing  of  them.  Your  poor  sister 
Alya,  I  hope  she  is  not  too  sad;  she  has  friends,  but  her  hus- 
band, has  he  not  become  too  sad  away  from  her?  How  are  the 
sweet  children?  Miss  Ida  is  with  her  still,  I  hope.  Did  you 
know  that  sister  Grekova  is  to  be  married  soon  to  Baron  Taube? 
How  glad  I  am  that  you  have  seen  A.  P.  Did  he  not  seem 
strange  out  of  uniform,  and  what  did  he  say  about  his  brother? 
Ah,  all  is  past,  and  will  never  return.  We  must  begin  a  new 
life  and  forget  self.  I  must  finish,  my  dear  little  soul.  Christ 
be  with  you.  Greetings  to  all.  I  kiss  your  mother.  I  con- 
gratulate you  again.  I  want  quickly  to  finish  the  small  paint- 
ing, and  get  it  to  you.  I  fear  you  are  again  passing  through 
fearful  days.  Reports  filter  through  of  murders  of  officers 
in  Sevastopol.    Rodionoff  and  his  brother  are  there. 

Your  own,  A. 

On  the  1 6th  of  January  the  Empress  wrote  me  a 
letter  in  Old  Slavonic  style  to  congratulate  me  on  my 
name  day.  In  this  she  addresses  me  as  "Sister  Sera- 
phine."  I  should  explain  that  my  hospital  in  Tsarskoe 
Selo  bore  the  name  of  that  saint,  because  it  was  on  her 
day  that  I  suffered  the  terrible  railway  accident  which 
left  me  lamed  for  life,  but  which  gave  me,  in  damages, 
the  funds  for  founding  the  hospital. 

Dearly  beloved  Sister  Seraphine: 

From  a  full  heart  I  wish  you  well  on  your  name  day!  God 
send  you  many  blessings,  good  health,  fortitude,  meekness, 
strength  to  bear  all  punishments  and  sorrows  sent  by  God, 
and  gladness  of  soul.  May  the  sun  lighten  the  path  you  tread 
through  life,  warm  all  by  your  love,  and  let  your  light  shine 
forth  these  sad,  gloomy  days.    Do  not  despair,  suffering  sister, 











O  M 
2i  ^ 











God  will  hear  your  prayers,  all  in  good  time.  Also  we  pray 
for  thee,  sister  chosen  of  the  Lord.  We  have  thee  in  fond 
remembrance.  Your  little  corner  is  far  away  from  us.  All 
who  love  thee  in  this  place  send  greetings.  Do  not  misjudge 
the  bad  writing  of  thy  sister.  She  is  illiterate,  an  ailing  lay 
sister.  I  am  learning  the  writing  of  prayers,  but  weakness  of 
sight  prevents  my  striving.  I  read  the  works  of  Bishop  Gr. 
Nissky,  but  he  writes  too  much  of  the  creation  of  the  world. 
From  our  sister  Zinaida  I  have  received  news,  so  much  good 
will  in  every  word,  breathing  peace  of  the  soul. 

The  family  known  to  thee  are  in  good  health,  the  children 
have  suffered  from  the  usual  ills  of  the  young,  but  are  now 
restored  to  health.  The  youngest  ill,  but  in  good  spirits  how- 
ever, and  without  suffering.  The  Lord  has  blessed  the  weather, 
beautiful  and  soft;  Thy  sister  walks  out  and  enjoys  the  sun, 
but  when  there  is  more  frost  she  hides  in  her  cell,  takes  a 
stocking,  puts  on  her  spectacles,  and  knits.  Sister  Sophia,- 
not  long  since  arrived,  has  not  been  granted  admittance,  those 
in  authority  having  refused  it.  She  has  found  hospitality  at 
the  priest's  with  her  old  woman.  The  other  sisters  are  all  in 
different  places.  Dearly  loved  sister,  art  thou  not  weary  read- 
ing this  letter?  All  the  others  have  gone  to  dinner.  I  remain 
on  guard  by  the  sick  Anastasia.  In  the  cells  next  ours  is 
sister  Catherina  ^  giving  a  lesson.  We  are  embroidering  for 
church.  Sisters  Tatiana  and  Maria  with  great  zeal.  Our 
father  Nicholas  gathers  us  around  him  in  the  evenings,  and 
reads  to  us  while  we  pass  the  time  with  needlework.  With 
his  meekness  and  good  health  he  does  not  disdain  to  saw  and 
chop  wood  for  our  needs,  cleans  the  roads,  too,  with  the  chil- 
dren. Our  mother  Alexandra  greets  thee,  sister,  and  sends 
her  motherly  blessings  and  hopes,  sister,  that  thou  livest  in 
the  Spirit  of  Christ.    Life  is  hard  but  the  spirit  is  strong.    Dear 

*Isa,  Baroness  Buxhoevden,  lady  in  waiting. 
*Miss  Schneider. 

i,v  .•  1  .-1.^  -.i,^ 


sister  Seraphine,  may  God  keep  thee.  I  beg  for  your  prayers. 
Christ  be  with  thee. 

The  Sinful  sister  Feodora, 

Prayers ! 

22  of  January. 
So  unexpectedly  I  received  the  letter  of  the  ist  and  the  card 
of  the  loth.  I  hasten  to  reply.  Tenderly  we  thank  through 
you  Karochinsky.  Really  it  is  touching  that  even  now  we 
are  not  forgotten.  God  grant  that  his  estates  should  be  spared. 
God  bless  him.  I  am  sending  you  some  food  but  I  do  not 
know  if  it  will  ever  reach  you.  Often  we  think  of  you.  I 
wrote  to  you  on  the   i6th  through  the  hospital,  on  the  17th 

a  card  by  Mr.  Gibbs,  and  on  the  9th  two  letters  by  . 

There!  I  have  dropped  my  favorite  pen  and  broken  it.  How 
provoking!  It  is  fearfully  cold,  29  degrees,  7  in  the  bathroom, 
and  blowing  in  from  everywhere.  Such  a  wind,  but  they  are 
all  out.  We  hope  to  see  the  officer  Tamarov  if  only  from  a 
distance.  So  glad  you  received  everything.  I  hope  you  wear 
the  gray  shawl,  and  that  it  smells  of  vervaine,  a  well-remem- 
bered scent.  Kind  Zinoschka  found  it  in  Odessa,  and  sent  it 
to  me. 

I  am  so  surprised  you  have  made  the  acquaintance  of 
Gorky.  He  was  awful  formerly.  Disgusting  and  immoral 
books  and  plays  he  wrote.  Can  it  be  the  same  man?  How 
he  fought  against  father  and  Russia  when  he  lived  in  ItalJ^ 
Be  careful,  my  love.  I  am  so  glad  j^ou  can  go  to  church.  To 
us  it  is  forbidden,  so  service  is  at  home,  and  a  new  priest  serves. 
How  glad  I  am  that  all  is  well  with  Serge.  With  Tina  it 
will  be  difficult,  but  God  will  help  her.  It  is  true  what  they 
say  about  Marie  Rebinder's  husband?  She  wrote  me,  through 
Isa,  that  they  are  still  in  Petrograd,  and  that  they  threatened 
to  kill  him.  It  is  difficult  to  understand  people  now.  Some- 
times they  are  with  the  Bolshevists  outwardly,  but  in  their 
hearts  they  are  against  them. 


The  cross  we  hung  over  the  children's  beds  during  their  ill- 
ness but  during  church  service  it  lies  on  the  table.  Bishop 
Gerogene  serves  special  prayers  daily  for  father  and  mother — 
he  is  quite  on  their  side,  which  is  strange.  I  must  hurry  as 
one  waits  to  take  this  letter.  I  am  sending  you  a  prayer  I 
wrote  on  a  piece  of  birchbark  we  cut.  I  can't  draw  much  as 
my  eyes  are  so  bad,  also  my  fingers  are  quite  stiff  from  cold. 
Such  a  wind,  and  it  blows  so  in  the  rooms.  I  am  sending  you 
a  little  image  of  the  Holy  Virgin.  Thanks  for  the  lovely 
prayer.  I  wear  often  the  jackets  you  gave  me.  I  send  you  all 
my  soul-prayers  and  love.  I  believe  firmly  so  I  am  quite  calm. 
We  are  all  your  own  and  kiss  you  tenderly. 

On  the  same  day  Grand  Duchess  Olga  wrote  a  brief 

Dearest,  we  were  so  glad  to  hear  from  you.  How  cold 
it  is  these  days,  and  what  a  strong  wind.  We  have  just  come 
back  from  a  walk.  On  our  window  it  is  written — "Anna 
darling "     I  wonder  who  wrote  it.     God  bless  you,  dear. 

^^  ^^1^-  Your  Olga. 

Give  my  love  to  all  who  remember  me. 

Two  other  notes  from  Olga  followed  in  February 
and  just  before  Easter. 

Darling,  with  all  my  loving  heart  I  am  with  you  these  hard 
days  for  you.  God  help  and  comfort  you,  my  darling.  On 
Mamma's  table  stands  the  mauve  bottle  you  sent  her  and 
which  reminds  us  so  much  of  you.  There  is  much  sun,  but 
great  frosts  also  and  winds,  and  very  cold  in  the  rooms,  espe- 
cially in  our  comer  room,  where  we  live  as  before.  All  are 
well,  and  we  walk  much  in  the  yard.  There  are  many  churches 
around  here,  so  we  are  always  hearing  bells  ringing.  God 
bless  you,  darling.     How  sad  your  brother  and  sister  are  not 

with  you.  -V-  r^ 

•'  Your  own  Olga. 


We  all  congratulate  you  tenderly  with  the  coming  Easter, 
and  wish  you  to  spend  it  as  peacefully  as  anyone  can  now.  I 
always  think  of  you  when  they  sing  during  mass  the  prayer  we 
used  to  sing  together  on  the  yacht.     I  kiss  you. 


The  other  children  also  wrote  me  at  this  time. 
Grand  Duchess  Tatlana  wrote  two  short  but 
characteristic  notes,  the  first  one  on  my  name  day, 
January  12.  In  all  these  letters  It  will  be  seen  how 
confidently  the  family  looked  forward  to  a  future  of 
freedom  and  happiness.  This  constant  optimism  In 
the  midst  of  ever-Increasing  surveillance  and  cruelty 
is  my  excuse  for  Including  notes  of  slight  general 

Tatlana  wrote  first : 

"You  remember  the  cozy  evenings  by  the  fireside?  How 
nice  it  was.  Did  you  again  see  Groten  and  Linevitch?  (the 
faithful  aides-de-camp).  Well,  good-bye,  my  darling  Annia. 
God  bless  you.    Good-bye — till  when  ? 

Your  T. 

Also — 

My  beloved  darling.  How  happy  we  are  to  get  news  from 
you.  I  hope  you  got  my  letters.  I  think  often  of  you  and 
pray  God  to  keep  you  from  all  harm  and  help  you.  I  am 
glad  you  know  the  Eristoffs  now.  We  get  such  good  letters 
from  Zina,  she  writes  so  well.  There  are  many  sadnesses  in 
these  days.  God  be  with  you.  It  is  very  cold.  Papa  wears 
his  Cossack  uniform  and  we  remember  how  much  you  liked  it. 
I  kiss  you  tenderly,  and  love  you,  and  congratulate  you  on  your 
dear  name  day. 


From  the  Grand  Duchess  Marie  Nicolaevna. 


Good  morning,  my  darling!  What  a  long  time  since  I  have 
written  to  you,  and  how  glad  I  was  to  get  your  little  letter. 
It  is  very  sad  we  don't  see  each  other,  but  God  will  arrange 
for  us  to  meet,  and  what  joy  it  will  be  then.  We  live  in  the 
house  where  you  have  been.  Do  you  remember  the  rooms? 
They  are  quite  comfortable  when  a  little  arranged.  We  walk 
out  twice  every  day.  Some  of  the  people  here  are  kind.  Every 
day  I  remember  you,  and  love  you  very  much.  Mr.  Gibbs 
gave  us  photographs  he  made  of  you — it  was  so  nice  to  have 
them.  Your  perfumes  remind  us  so  much  of  you.  I  wish  you 
every  blessing  from  God,  and  kiss  you  tenderly.  Don't  be 
sad.    Love  to  all  yours.  y^^^  j^^j^g  ^^^^^ 

My  darling  beloved,  how  are  you?  We  are  all  well,  walk 
much  in  the  yard,  and  have  a  little  hill  down  which  we  can 
slide.  There  is  much  frost  these  days  so  Mama  sits  at  home. 
You  will  probably  get  this  in  February,  so  I  congratulate  you 
on  your  name  day.  God  help  you  in  future  and  bless  you. 
We  always  remember  and  speak  of  you.  May  God  guard  all 
your  ways.  Don't  be  sad,  dear.  All  will  be  well,  and  we 
shall  be  together  again.     I  kiss  you  tenderly.  Marif 

Alexei  wrote  that  same  month  of  January,  1918  : 

My  darling  Annia.  We  are  so  glad  to  have  news  from  you, 
and  to  hear  that  you  got  all  our  things.  Today  there  are  29 
degrees  of  frost,  a  strong  wind,  and  sunshine.  We  walked, 
and  I  went  on  skees  in  the  yard.  Yesterday  I  acted  with 
Tatiana  and  Gilik  a  French  piece.  We  are  now  preparing 
another  piece.  We  have  a  few  good  soldiers  with  whom  I 
play  games  in  their  rooms.  Kolia  Deravenko  comes  to  me  on 
holidays.  Nagorini,  the  sailor,  sleeps  with  me.  As  servants 
we  have  Wolkoff,  Sednoff,  Troup,  and  Chemodurofif.  It  is 
time  to  go  to  lunch.     I  kiss  and  embrace  you.     God  bless  you. 



The  remaining  letters  from  the  Empress,  dating 
from  the  end  of  January  to  the  last  days  of  April, 
19 1 8,  are  uncomplaining,  yet  are  full  of  suffering  and 
the  prescience  of  tragic  events  to  come.  I  do  not  be- 
lieve that  the  Empress  ever  lost  faith  in  the  ultimate 
happiness  of  her  beloved  family,  but  her  keen  mind 
fully  comprehended  the  terrible  march  of  events  in  the 
torn  Empire,  and  she  knew  that  trials  and  still  greater 
trials  had  to  be  faced  by  the  Emperor  and  herself. 
Her  courage  in  the  face  of  this  certain  conviction  is 
beyond  any  praise  of  mine. 

On  the  23rd  of  January  she  wrote: 

My  precious  child:  There  is  a  possibility  of  writing  to  you 

now   as  leaves  here  on   the   26th.      I   only  hope   no 

one  robs  him  on  the  way.  He  takes  you  two  pounds  of  maca- 
roni,  three  pounds  of  rice,   and  a  little  ham.      It   is  so  well 

does  not  live  with  us.     I  have  knitted  stockings,  and 

have  knitted  you  a  pair.  They  are  men's  size  but  they  will  do 
under  valenki  and  when  it  is  cold  in  the  rooms.  Here  we 
have  29  degrees  of  frost,  and  6  in  the  big  room.  It  is  blowing 
terribly.  I  was  keenly  touched  by  the  money  you  sent,  but  do 
not  send  any  more  as  for  the  present  we  have  all  we  need. 
There  have  been  days  when  we  did  not  know  what  to  do.  I 
wonder  what  you  are  living  on.  The  little  money  you  had  I 
put  in  the  box  with  your  jewels.  (My  fingers  are  so  stiff  I 
can  hardly  hold  my  pen.)  I  am  glad  your  rooms  are  so  com- 
fortable and  so  light,  but  it  must  be  difficult  for  you  to  climb 
the  long  staircase.    How  are  your  poor  back  and  legs  ? 

I  know  nothing  about  Lili  Dehn,  and  from  my  two  sisters 
and  my  brother  I  have  heard  nothing  for  a  year.  Only  one 
letter  from  my  sister  Elizabeth  (Grand  Duchess  Serge)  last 
summer.     Olga  Alexandrovna  *  writes  long  letters  to  the  chil- 

*  Sister  of  the  Emperor. 


dren  all  about  her  boy  whom  she  adores  and  nurses  herself. 
The  grandmamma  I  think  is  getting  very  old,  and  is  very  sad, 

Tudles  has  four  in  her  room.  They  say  that  Marie  P.® 
lives  well  in  Kisslowdsk,  both  her  sons  are  with  her  and  she 
receives  all  the  beau  monde  from  Petrograd.  Merika®  lives 
there  also  and  is  expecting  a  baby.  Marianna  Ratkova  has 
bought  a  house  there,  and  receives  on  Thursdays.  Mr.  Gibbs 
asks  often  about  you,  also  Tudles,  and  my  big  Niouta  Demi- 
doff.  The  little  doggy  lies  on  my  knees  and  warms  them.  It 
is  mortally  cold,  but  in  Petrograd  there  is  probably  worse 
darkness,  hunger,  and  cold.  God  help  you  all  to  bear  it 
patiently.     The  worse  here  the  better  in  yonder  world. 

It  hurts  to  think  how  much  bloodshed  will  have  to  be  before 
better  days  come.  .  .  .  Darling,  I  send  you  all  my  love,  and 
am  so  sad  I  can  send  you  little  else.  I  embroider  for  the 
church  when  my  eyes  allow  me,  otherwise  I  knit,  but  soon  I 
shall  have  no  more  wool.  We  can't  get  any  here — too  dear, 
and  verj'  bad.  I  have  had  a  letter  from  Shoura  Petrovskaia, 
who  is  taking  care  of  her  brother's  children.  She  sews  boots 
and  sells  them.  In  October  the  children  got  a  letter  from 
their  old  nurse  in  England — the  first  one  from  there.  What 
rot  they  publish  about  Tatiana  in  the  newspapers!  Do  you 
see  your  new  friend  and  saviour  often?  How  is  he?  Love 
to  your  kind  parents.  I  would  love  to  write  you  certain 
things  of  interest,  but  just  now  there  are  many  things  one 
can't  put  in  a  letter.  The  little  one  has  put  on  a  sweater,  and 
the  girls  wear  valenki  in  their  rooms.  I  know  how  sad  you 
would  feel.  .  .  . 

The  kind  servant  Sednoff  has  just  brought  me  a  cup  of 
cocoa  to  warm  me  up.  How  do  you  pray  with  the  rosary,  and 
what  prayers  do  you  say  on  tvtry  tenth?  I  generally  say  Our 
Father  and  to  the  Holy  Virgin,  but  should  one  say  the  same 

*  Grand  Duchess  Marie  Pavlovna. 
'Princess  Galatzine. 


prayer  to  the  end  ?  I  looked  for  it  in  the  books  but  did  not  get 
any  information.  I  long  so  to  go  to  church  but  they  allow  us 
that  only  on  great  holidays  (feasts).  So  we  hope  to  go  on 
the  2nd  of  February,  and  on  the  3rd  I  shall  order  prayers 
at  the  relics  for  you.  How  is  poor  old  Soukhomlinoff  ? 
Where  is  Sacha?  I  suppose  one  may  completely  trust  the 
little  officer  you  sent.  I  asked  him  to  make  the  acquaint- 
ance of  the  priest  who  served  us  before,  a  most  devoted  and 
energetic  man,  a  real  fighting  priest — more  than  spiritual  per- 
haps— yet  with  a  charming  face,  and  a  constantly  sweet  smile, 
very  thin,  long  gray  beard,  and  clever  eyes.  His  feeling  for 
us  is  known  all  over  the  country  now  by  the  good  ones,  there- 
fore they  took  him  away  from  us,  but  perhaps  better  so,  as  he 
can  do  more  now.  The  Bishop  is  quite  for  father  and  mother, 
and  so  is  the  Patriarch  in  Moscow,  and  it  seems  most  of  the 
clergy.  Only  you  must  be  careful  what  sort  of  people  come 
to  you.  I  am  so  anxious  about  your  seeing  Gorky.  Be  pru- 
dent, and  don't  have  any  serious  conversations  with  him.  Peo- 
ple will  try  to  get  around  you  as  before.  I  don't  mean  real 
friends,  honest-meaning  people,  but  others  who  for  personal 
reasons  will  use  you  as  their  shield.  Then  you  will  have  the 
brutes  after  you  again. 

I  am  racking  my  brains  what  to  send  you,  as  one  can  get 
nothing  here  at  all.  Our  Christmas  presents  were  all  the  work 
of  our  own  hands,  and  now  I  must  give  my  eyes  a  rest.  .  .  . 
How  pleased  I  was  that  Princess  Eristoff  has  spoken  so  kindly 
of  us.  Give  her  and  also  her  son  our  love.  Where  does  he 
serve  now?  The  people  here  are  very  friendly — lots  of 
Kirghise.  When  I  sit  in  the  window  they  bow  to  me,  if  the 
soldiers  are  not  looking. 

What  dreadful  news  about  the  robbing  of  the  sacristy  in  the 
Winter  Palace.  There  were  so  many  precious  relics  and  many 
of  our  own  ikons.  They  say  it  has  been  the  same  in  the  church 
of  Gatchina.     Did  you  know  that  the  portraits  of  my  parents 


and  of  father  have  been  utterly  destroyed?  Also  my  Russian 
Court  dresses  and  all  the  others  as  well?  But  the  destruction 
of  the  churches  is  the  worst  of  all.  They  say  it  was  the  soldiers 
from  the  hospital  in  the  Winter  Palace  who  did  it.  .  .  .  We 
hear  that  the  soldiers  in  Smolny  have  seized  all  available  food, 
and  are  quite  indifferent  to  the  prospect  of  the  people  starving. 
Why  was  money  sent  to  us  rather  than  having  been  given  to 
the  poor?  True,  there  were  for  us  some  very  difficult  times 
when  we  could  not  pay  any  bills,  and  when  for  four  months 
the  servants  had  to  go  without  any  wages.  The  soldiers  here 
were  not  paid,  so  they  simply  took  our  money  to  keep  them 
quiet.  All  this  is  petty,  but  it  makes  great  trouble  for  the 
commandant.  'The  Hofmarshall  Chancelerie  is  still  in  ex- 
istence, but  when  they  abolish  it  I  really  don't  know  what  we 
shall  do.  Well,  God  will  help,  and  we  still  have  what  we 

I  think  often  of  Livadia  and  what  may  be  happening  there. 
They  say  that  many  former  political  prisoners  are  stationed 
there.  Where  is  our  dear  yacht,  the  Standertf  I  am  afraid 
to  inquire  about  it.  My  God !  How  I  suffered  when  I  heard 
that  you  were  imprisoned  on  the  Polar  Star.  I  cannot  think  of 
the  yacht.     It  hurts  too  much. 

It  is  said  that  our  Kommissar  is  about  to  be  removed,  and 
we  are  so  rejoiced.  His  assistant  will  leave  with  him.  They 
are  both  terrible  men,  Siberian  convicts  formerly.  The  Kom- 
missar was  in  prison  for  fifteen  years.  The  soldiers  have  de- 
cided to  send  them  away,  but  thank  God  they  have  left  us  our 
commandant.  The  soldiers  manage  absolutely  everything 

I  am  lying  down,  as  it  is  six  o'clock.  There  is  a  fire  burning 
but  it  barely  warms  the  room.  Soon  the  little  one  will  be 
coming  in  for  a  lesson.  I  am  teaching  the  children  the  Divine 
Service.  May  God  help  me  to  teach  it  to  them  so  that  it  will 
remain  with  them  through  their  whole  lives,  and  develop  their 


souls.  It  is  a  big  responsibility.  ...  It  is  such  a  blessing  to 
live  all  together,  and  be  so  near  to  one  another.  Still  you  must 
know  what  I  have  to  endure,  having  no  news  from  my  brother, 
nor  any  idea  of  what  lies  in  the  future.  My  poor  brother  also 
knows  nothing  of  us.  If  I  thought  my  own  little  old  home 
and  the  family  would  have  to  suffer  what  we  have — it  is  awful ! 
Then  it  might  begin  also  in  England.  However  you  remember 
that  our  Friend  said  that  no  harm  would  come  to  my  old  home." 
I  try  to  suppress  all  these  thoughts  that  my  soul  may  not  be 
overwhelmed  with  despair.  I  trust  all  my  dear  ones  to  the 
Holy  Virgin.  May  she  shield  them  from  all  evil.  I  still  have 
much  to  thank  God  for ;  you  are  well,  and  I  can  write  to  you  ; 
I  am  not  separated  from  our  own  darlings.  Thank  God  we 
are  still  in  Russia  (this  is  the  chief  thing),  and  we  are  near 
the  relics  of  the  Metropolitan  John,  and  we  have  peace. 
Good-bye,  my  little  daughter. 

Old  friends  continued  to  be  very  dear  to  the  exiled 
Empress,  and  she  kept  up  her  Interest  In  all  their  af- 
fairs. Of  my  sister-ln-law  who  had  her  first  child 
while  her  husband  was  fighting  on  the  Rumanian  front 
the  Empress  wrote : 

How  much  better  it  would  have  been  if  Tina  could  have  gone 
to  Odessa  to  have  her  baby,  not  far  from  Serge,  and  where  kind 
Zinotchka  could  have  looked  after  her  and  arranged  everything. 
But  now  that  the  Rumanians  have  taken  KichinefE  Serge  has 
probably  left,  and  they  are  together  again.  Sharing  hardships 
will  cause  their  love  to  increase  and  strengthen.  How  is  Alyas's 
(my  sister)  health?  Was  it  Mariana's  former  husband, 
Derfelden,  who  was  killed  in  the  south?  Her  mother  and 
family  live  in  Boris's  house. 

I  sometimes  see  Isa  in  the  street   (i.e.  from  the  window). 

'  Rasputine  foresaw  this  correctly   and  the  Grand  Duke  of  Hesse 
retains  his  old  home  in  peace. 


The  sister  of  mercy  Tatiana  Andriev'na  is  now  in  Petrograd 
taking  care  of  her  sister.  Later  she  will  return  to  Moscow. 
She  seems  rather  nervous.  Give  our  greetings  to  our  con- 
fessor, father  Afanasi,  father  Alexander,  and  my  poor  old  Zio. 
I  don't  know  anything  about  my  second  sen-ant  Kondratieff. 
What  has  become  of  our  chauffeurs  and  the  coachman  KonkofF? 
Is  old  General  Schwedoff  still  alive? 

Holy  Virgin,  keep  my  daughter  from  all  danger,  bless  and 
console  her! 

5th  of  February,  191 8. 

My  own  darling  little  one.  How  terribly  sad  I  am  for  you 
about  the  death  of  your  dear  father,  and  that  I  could  not  be 
with  you  to  help  and  console  you  in  your  great  sorrow.  You 
know  that  I  am  with  you  in  my  prayers.  May  Christ  and  the 
Holy  Virgin  comfort  you,  and  wipe  the  tears  from  your  eyes. 
May  God  receive  his  soul  in  peace.  Tomorrow  morning  I  will 
ask  Anoushka  to  go  and  order  service  for  him  for  forty  days 
near  the  relics.  Alas  we  can  pray  only  at  home.  In  him  we 
both  lost  a  true  friend  of  many  years.  Father  and  the  children 
suffer  with  you,  tenderly  kiss  you,  and  know  all  that  your  sen- 
sitive heart  feels. 

As  your  telegram  went  by  post  I  don't  know  what  day  God 
took  him  to  himself.  Is  it  possible  it  was  the  same  day  you 
wrote  to  me?  I  am  so  glad  you  saw  him  daily,  but  how  did  it 
happen,  your  poor  father?  For  himself  one  must  thank  God — 
so  many  hardships  to  live  through — no  home,  and  ever}thing  so 
bad.  I  remember  how  it  was  foretold  to  us  (by  Rasputine) 
that  he  would  die  when  Serge  married.  And  you  two  women 
are  all  alone  now.  I  wonder  if  your  brother-in-law  was  there 
to  help  you,  or  your  kind  uncle.  I  shall  try  to  write  to  his 
address  a  long  letter,  and  also  to  your  mother.  Tell  her  I  kiss 
her  tenderly,  and  how  much  we  have  always  loved  her  and 
honored  your  father.  He  was  a  rare  man.  .  .  .  Don't  cry.  He 
is  happy  now,  rests  and  prays  for  you  at  the  Throne  of  God. 


I  am  glad  that  you  received  my  two  letters.  Now  you  will 
get  two  more.  What  your  little  messenger  will  tell  you  about 
your  dear  ones  is  for  yourself  alone.  What  horrors  go  on  at 
Yalta  and  Massandra — My  God!  Where  is  the  salvation  for 
us  all  and  for  the  poor  officers?  All  the  churches  being  ruined 
— nothing  held  sacred  any  more — it  will  finish  in  some  terrible 
earthquake,  or  something  like  it  as  the  chastisement  of  God. 
May  He  have  mercy  on  our  beloved  country.  How  I  pray 
for  Russia.  .  .  . 

They  say  that  the  Japanese  are  in  Tomsk  and  keep  good  order 
there.  I  hope  you  got  our  little  parcel.  As  we  have  no  sugar 
I  shall  send  you  a  little  honey  which  you  can  eat  during  Lent. 
We  live  still  by  the  old  style,  but  probably  shall  have  to  change. 
Only  I  don't  know  how  it  will  be  then  with  Lent  and  all  the 
services  (festivals  and  fasts).  The  people  may  be  very  angry 
if  two  weeks  are  thrown  out.  That  is  why  it  was  never  done 
before.  .  ,  . 

The  sun  shines  and  even  warms  us  in  the  day  times.  I  feel 
that  God  will  not  forsake  but  will  save  us,  though  all  is  so 
dark  and  tears  are  flowing  everywhere.  .  .  .  My  little  one, 
don't  suffer  too  much.  All  this  had  to  be.  Only  My  God, 
how  sorry  I  am  for  the  innocent  ones  killed  ever\'where.  I 
can't  write  any  more.  Ask  your  mother  to  forgive  the  mis- 
takes I  shall  make  in  writing  to  her  in  Russian,  and  that  I  can- 
not express  myself  as  warmly  as  I  would  like  to.  Good-bye,  my 
darling.    I  am  sending  you  letters  from  father  and  the  children. 

2nd  of  March,  191 8. 
Darling  child :  Thanks  for  all  from  father,  mother  and 
the  children.  How  you  spoil  us  all  by  your  dear  letters  and 
gifts.  I  was  ver}^  anxious  going  so  long  without  news  from 
you,  especially  as  rumors  came  that  you  were  gone.  Alas,  I 
can't  write  you  as  I  could  wish  for  fear  that  this  may  fall  into 
other  hands.  We  have  not  yet  received  all  that  you  have  sent 
(contraband).    It  comes  to  us  little  by  little.     Dear  child,  do 


be  careful  of  the  people  who  come  to  see  you.  The  way  is  so 
slippery,  and  it  is  so  easy  to  fall.  Sometimes  a  road  is  cleared 
through  the  snow  on  which  one's  true  friends  are  to  walk — and 
then  the  road  becomes  still  more  slipper>' ! 

We  are  all  right,  and  I  am  now  a  real  mistress  of  a  house- 
hold, going  over  accounts  with  M.  Gilliard.  New  work  and 
ver)''  practical.  The  weather  is  sunnj — they  are  even  sun- 
burned, and  even  when  the  frost  comes  back  it  is  warmer  in 
the  sun.  I  have  sat  twice  on  the  balcony  and  sometimes  sit  in 
the  yard.  My  heart  has  been  much  better,  but  for  a  week  I 
have  had  great  pains  in  it  again.  I  worry  so  much.  My  God ! 
How  Russia  suffers.  You  know  that  I  love  it  even  more  than 
you  do,  miserable  countr>',  demolished  from  within,  and  by  the 
Germans  from  without.  Since  the  Revolution  they  have  con- 
quered a  great  deal  of  it  without  even  a  battle.  ...  If  they 
created  order  now  in  Russia  how  dreadful  would  be  the  coun- 
try's debasement — to  have  to  be  grateful  to  the  enemy.  They 
must  never  dare  to  attempt  any  conversations  with  father  or 

We  hope  to  go  to  Communion  next  week,  if  they  allow  us 
to  go  to  church.  We  have  not  been  since  the  6th  of  January. 
I  shall  pray  to  the  rosary  you  have  written.  Kiss  your  poor 
mother.  I  am  glad  you  took  some  of  your  things  from  the 
hospital.  Best  love  to  poor  G.  Soukhomllnoiff.  What  terrible 
times  you  are  all  living  through.  On  the  whole  we  are  better 
o£F  than  you.  .  .  .  Soon  spring  is  coming  to  rejoice  our  hearts. 
The  way  of  the  cross  first — then  joy  and  gladness.  It  will  soon 
be  a  year  since  we  parted,  but  what  is  time?  Life  here  is 
nothing — eternity  is  everjthing,  and  what  we  are  doing  is  pre- 
paring our  souls  for  the  Kingdom  of  Heaven.  Thus  nothing, 
after  all,  is  terrible,  and  if  they  do  take  everything  from  us  they 
cannot  take  our  souls.  .  .  .  Have  patience,  and  these  days  of 
suffering  will  end,  we  shall  forget  all  the  anguish  and  thank 
God.     God  help  those  who  see  only  the  bad,  and  don't  try  to 


understand  that  all  this  will  pass.  It  cannot  be  otherwise.  I 
cannot  write  all  that  fills  my  soul,  but  you,  my  little  martyr, 
understand  it  better  than  I.  You  are  farther  on  than  I.  .  .  . 
We  live  here  on  earth  but  we  are  already  half  gone  to  the  next 
world.  We  see  with  different  eyes,  and  that  makes  it  often 
difficult  to  associate  with  people  who  call  themselves,  and  really 
are  religious.  .  .  .  My  greatest  sin  is  my  irritability.  The 
endless  stupidity  of  my  maid,  for  instance — she  can't  help  being 
stupid,  she  is  so  often  untruthful,  or  else  she  begins  to  sermonize 
like  a  preacher  and  then  I  burst — ^you  know  how  hot-tempered 
I  am.  It  is  not  difficult  to  bear  great  trials,  but  these  little 
buzzing  mosquitoes  are  so  tr>ing.  I  want  to  be  a  better 
woman,  and  I  tr}\  For  long  periods  I  am  really  patient,  and 
then  breaks  out  again  my  bad  temper.  We  are  to  have  a  new 
confessor,  the  second  in  these  seven  months.  I  beg  j'our  for- 
giveness, too,  darling.  Day  after  tomorrow  is  the  Sunday  before 
Lent  when  one  asks  forgiveness  for  all  one's  faults.  Forgive 
the  past,  and  pray  for  me.  Yesterday  we  had  prayers  for  the 
dead,  and  we  did  not  forget  your  father.  A  few  days  ago  was 
the  twenty-sixth  anniversary  of  my  father's  death.  I  long  to 
warm  and  to  comfort  others — but  alas,  I  do  not  feel  drawn  to 
those  around  me  here.  I  am  cold  towards  them,  and  this,  too,  is 
wrong  of  me. 

The  cowardly  yielding  of  the  Bolshevist  govern- 
ment to  the  triumphant  Germans  was  a  source  of  con- 
stant suffering  to  the  Empress.  In  subsequent  letters 
written  me  that  spring  she  speaks  almost  Indifferently 
of  the  cold  and  privations  suffered  In  the  house  In 
Tobolsk,  but  she  becomes  passionate  when  she  writes 
of  the  German  Invasion. 

What  a  nightmare  it  is  that  it  is  Germans  who  are  saving 
Russia   (from  Communism)    and  are  restoring  order.     What 


could  be  more  humiliating  for  us?  With  one  hand  the  Ger- 
mans give,  and  with  the  other  they  take  away.  Already  they 
have  seized  an  enormous  territory,  God  help  and  save  this 
unhappy  country.  Probably  He  wills  us  to  endure  all  these 
insults,  but  that  we  must  take  them  from  the  Germans  almost 
kills  me.  During  a  war  one  can  understand  these  things 
happening,  but  not  during  a  revolution.  Now  Batoum  has 
been  taken — our  country  is  disintegrating  into  bits.  I  cannot 
think  calmly  about  it.  Such  hideous  pain  in  heart  and  soul. 
Yet  I  am  sure  God  will  not  leave  it  like  this.  He  will  send 
wisdom  and  save  Russia  I  am  sure. 

It  will  always  be  to  me  an  Immense  gratification  that 
in  the  midst  of  her  great  pain  and  sorrow  for  Russia's 
piteous  plight  our  small  group  of  friends  in  Petrograd, 
and  those  brave  souls  who  dared  to  risk  their  lives 
as  message  bearers,  were  able  to  get  to  the  forlorn 
family  in  desolate  Siberia  at  least  the  necessities  of  life 
of  which  a  cruel  and  inefficient  government  deprived 
them.  The  Empress  who  all  her  life  had  but  to  com- 
mand what  she  wanted  for  herself  and  her  children 
was  grateful,  pathetically  grateful,  for  the  simple 
garments,  the  cheap  little  luxuries,  even  the  materials 
for  needlework  we  were  able  to  convey  to  them.  She 
thanks  me  almost  effusively  for  the  jackets  and 
sweaters  we  sent  her  and  the  girls  in  their  cold  rooms. 
The  wool  was  so  soft  and  nice,  but  the  linen,  she 
feared,  was  almost  too  fine.  This  was  early  in  March, 
but  spring  was  already  creeping  across  the  steppes. 

The  weather  is  so  fine  that  I  have  been  sitting  out  on  the 
balcony  writing  music  for  the  Lenten  prayers,  as  we  have  no 
printed  notes.  We  had  to  sing  this  morning  without  any  prepa- 
ration, but  it  went — well,  not  too  badly.     God  helped.     After 


service  we  tried  to  sing  some  new  prayers  with  the  new  deacon, 
and  I  hope  it  will  go  better  tonight.' 

On  Wednesday,  Friday  and  Saturday  mornings  we  were 
allowed  to  go  to  the  eight  o'clock  morning  service  in  church — 
imagine  the  joy  and  comfort!  The  other  days  we  five  women 
will  sing  during  the  home  service.  It  reminds  me  of  Livadia 
and  Oreanda.  This  week  we  shall  spend  the  evenings  alone 
with  the  children,  as  we  want  to  read  together.  I  know  of 
nothing  new.  My  heart  is  troubled  but  my  soul  remains  tran- 
quil as  I  feel  God  always  near.  Yet  what  are  they  deciding  on 
in  Moscow?    God  help  us. 

"Peace  and  yet  the  Germans  continue  to  advance  farther  and 
farther  in,"  wrote  the  Empress  on  March  13  (Russian). 
"When  will  it  all  finish  ?  When  God  allows.  How  I  love  miy 
country,  with  all  its  faults.  It  grows  dearer  and  dearer  to  me, 
and  I  thank  God  daily  that  He  allowed  us  to  remain  here  and 
did  not  send  us  farther  away.  Believe  in  the  people,  darling. 
The  nation  is  strong,  and  young,  and  as  soft  as  wax.  Just  now 
it  is  in  bad  hands,  and  darkness  and  anarchy  reigns.  But  the 
King  of  Glory  will  come  and  will  save,  strengthen,  and  give 
wisdom  to  the  people  who  are  now  deceived." 

For  some  reason  the  Empress  seemed  to  feel  that 
the  Lenten  season  of  19 18  was  destined  to  end  in  an 
Easter  resurrection  of  the  torn  and  distracted  country. 
At  least  so  her  letters  indicate.  In  a  mood  of  fitful 
kindness  and  mercy  the  Bolshevist  soldiers  in  au- 
thority In  Tobolsk  allowed  their  captives  to  go  rather 
often  to  church  and  to  Communion  during  this  season, 
and  the  Empress  was  very  happy  In  consequence.  Her 
letters  were  full  of  prayers  for  the  country,  In  which 
the  whole  family  joined,  and  they  appeared  to  look 
forward  to  Easter  as  the  day  when  God  would  give 

"Western  readers  perhaps  do  not  know  how  indispensable  is  vocal 


some  token  that  the  sins  of  the  Russian  people,  for 
which  they  were  suffering,  were  forgiven.  Yet  never 
once  did  she  speak  of  regaining  power  or  the  throne. 
All  that  was  over  and  forgotten.  Neither  the  Em- 
peror nor  the  Empress  ever  indicated  in  any  syllable 
that  they  expected  to  be  returned  to  their  former 
eminence.  In  fact  they  never  spoke  of  what  might 
actually  happen  to  the  Russian  Empire,  but  they  be- 
lieved that  God  would  hold  it  together  and  restore 
its  people  to  wisdom  and  strength.  For  themselves 
they  seemed  to  look  forward  to  nothing  better  than 
an  obscure  existence  with  other  Russian  people.  How 
uncomplainingly  they  accepted  the  hard  terms  of  their 
lives,  how  grateful  they  were  for  the  love  of  distant 
friends  whom  they  might  never  see  again,  is  shown 
in  all  the  last  letters  I  received  from  the  Empress  dur- 
ing March,  191 8.  After  receiving  one  of  our  parcels 
of  clothing  she  wrote  me : 

We  are  endlessly  touched  by  all  your  love  and  thoughtfulness. 
Thank  everybody  for  us,  please,  but  really  it  is  too  bad  to  spoil 
us  so,  for  you  are  among  so  many  difficulties  and  we  have  not 
many  privations,  I  assure  you.  We  have  enough  to  eat,  and  in 
many  respects  are  rich  compared  with  you.  The  children  put 
on  yesterday  your  lovely  blouses.  The  hats  also  are  ver>'  use- 
ful, as  we  have  none  of  this  sort.  The  pink  jacket  is  far  too 
pretty  for  an  old  woman  like  me,  but  the  hat  is  all  right  for 
my  gray  hair.  What  a  lot  of  things!  The  books  I  have  already 
begun  to  read,  and  for  all  the  rest  such  tender  thanks.  He  was 
so  pleased  by  the  military  suit,  vest,  and  trousers  you  sent  him, 

music  in  Russian  church  services  where  no  organ  is  permitted.  All 
priests  are  trained  musicians,  and  there  is  much  congregational 


and  all  the  lovely  things.  From  whom  came  the  ancient  image? 
I  love  it. 

Our  last  gifts  to  you,  including  the  Easter  eggs,  will  get  off 
today.  I  can't  get  much  here  except  a  little  flour.  Just  now 
we  are  completely  shut  off  from  the  south,  but  we  did  get,  a 
short  time  ago,  letters  from  Odessa.  What  they  have  gone 
through  there  is  quite  terrible.  Lili  is  alone  in  the  country  with 
her  grandmother  and  our  godchild,  surrounded  by  the  enemy. 
The  big  Princess  Bariatinsky  and  Mme.  Tolstoy  were  in  prison 
in  Yalta,  the  former  merely  because  she  took  the  part  of  the 
Tartars.  Babia  Apraxine  with  her  mother  and  children  live 
upstairs  in  their  house,  the  lower  floor  being  occupied  by  sol- 
diers. Grand  Duchess  Xenia  with  her  husband,  children,  and 
mother  are  living  in  Diilburg.  Olga  Alexandrovna  (the  Em- 
peror's sister)  lives  in  Haraks  in  a  small  house  because  if  she 
had  remained  in  Aitodor  she  would  have  had  to  pay  for  the 
house.  What  the  Germans  are  doing !  Keeping  order  in  the 
towns  but  taking  everything.  All  the  wheat  is  in  their  hands, 
and  it  is  said  that  they  take  seed-corn,  coal,  former  Russian 
soldiers — everything.  The  Germans  are  now  in  Bierki  and  in 
Charkoff,  Poltava  Government.  Batoum  is  in  the  hands  of 
the  Turks. 

Sunbeam  (Alexei)  has  been  ill  in  bed  for  the  past  week.  I 
don't  know  whether  coughing  brought  on  the  attack,  or  whether 
he  picked  up  something  heavy,  but  he  had  an  awful  internal 
hemorrhage  and  suffered  fearfully.  He  is  better  now,  but  sleeps 
badly  and  the  pains,  though  less  severe,  have  not  entirely  ceased. 
He  is  frightfully  thin  and  yellow,  reminding  me  of  Spala.  Do 
you  remember?  But  yesterday  he  began  to  eat  a  little,  and 
Dr.  Derevanko  is  satisfied  with  his  progress.  The  child  has 
to  lie  on  his  back  without  moving,  and  he  gets  so  tired.  I  sit  all 
day  beside  him,  holding  his  aching  legs,  and  I  have  grown 
almost  as  thin  as  he.  It  is  certain  now  that  we  shall  celebrate 
Easter  at  home  because  it  will  be  better  for  him  if  we  have  a 


service  together.  I  try  to  hope  that  this  attack  will  pass 
more  quickly  than  usual.  It  must,  since  all  Winter  he  was 
so  well. 

I  have  not  been  outside  the  house  for  a  week.  I  am  no  longer 
permitted  to  sit  on  the  balcony,  and  I  avoid  going  downstairs. 
I  am  sorry  that  your  heart  is  bad  again,  but  I  can  understand 
it.  Be  sure  and  let  me  know  well  in  advance  if  you  move  again. 
Everj'one,  we  hear,  has  been  sent  away  from  Tsarskoe.  Poor 
Tsarskoe,  w^ho  will  take  care  of  the  rooms  now?  What  do  they 
mean  when  they  speak  of  an  "etat  de  siege"  there?  .  .  . 

Darling  "Sister  Seraphine": 

I  want  to  talk  to  you  again,  knowing  how  anxious  you  will 
be  for  Sunbeam.  The  blood  recedes  quickly — that  is  why  today 
he  again  had  very  severe  pains.  Yesterday  for  the  first  time 
he  smiled  and  talked  with  us,  even  played  cards,  and  slept  two 
hours  during  the  day.  He  is  frightfully  thin,  with  enormous 
eyes,  just  as  at  Spala.  He  likes  to  be  read  to,  eats  little — no 
appetite  at  all  in  fact.  I  am  with  him  the  whole  day,  Tatiana 
or  Mr.  Gilliard  relieving  me  at  intervals.  Mr.  Gilliard  reads 
to  him  tirelessly,  or  warms  his  legs  with  the  Fohn  apparatus. 
Today  it  is  snowing  again  but  the  snow  melts  rapidly,  and  it  is 
very  muddy.  I  have  not  been  out  for  a  week  and  a  half,  as  I 
am  so  tired  that  I  don't  dare  to  risk  the  stairs.  So  I  sit  with 
Alexei.  ...  A  great  number  of  new  troops  have  come  from 
everywhere.  A  new  Kommissar  has  arrived  from  Moscow,  a 
man  named  Jakovleff,  and  today  we  shall  have  to  make  his 
acquaintance.  It  gets  very  hot  in  this  town  in  Summer,  is 
frightfully  dusty,  and  at  times  very  humid.  We  are  begging  to 
be  transferred  for  the  hot  months  to  some  convent.  I  know 
that  you  too  are  longing  for  fresh  air,  and  I  trust  that  by  God's 
mere)'  it  may  become  possible  for  us  all. 

They  are  always  hinting  to  us  that  we  shall  have  to  travel 
either  very  far  away,  or  to  the  center  (of  Siberia),  but  we  hope 


that  this  will  not  happen,  as  it  would  be  dreadful  at  this  season. 
How  nice  it  would  be  if  your  brother  could  settle  himself  in 
Odessa.  We  are  quite  cut  off  from  the  south,  never  hear  from 
anybody.  The  little  officer  will  tell  you — he  saw  me  apart 
from  the  others.^  I  am  so  afraid  that  false  rumors  will  reach 
your  ears — people  lie  so  frantically.  Probably  the  little  one's 
illness  was  reported  as  something  different,  as  an  excuse  for 
our  not  being  moved.^^  Well,  all  is  God's  will.  The  deeper 
you  look  the  more  you  understand  that  this  is  so.  All  sorrows 
are  sent  us  to  free  us  from  our  sins  or  as  a  test  of  our  faith,  an 
example  to  others.  It  requires  good  food  to  make  plants  grow 
strong  and  beautiful,  and  the  gardener  walking  through  his 
garden  wants  to  be  pleased  with  his  flowers.  If  they  do  not 
grow  properly  he  takes  his  pruning  knife  and  cuts,  waiting  for 
the  sunshine  to  coax  them  into  growth  again.  I  should  like  to 
be  a  painter,  and  make  a  picture  of  this  beautiful  garden  and 
all  that  grows  in  it.  I  remember  English  gardens,  and  at 
Livadia  you  saw  an  illustrated  book  I  had  of  them,  so  you  will 

Just  now  eleven  men  have  passed  on  horseback,  good  faces, 
mere  boys — this  I  have  not  seen  the  like  of  for  a  long  time. 
They  are  the  guard  of  the  new  Kommissar.  Sometimes  we  see 
men  with  the  most  awful  faces.  I  would  not  include  them  in 
my  garden  picture.  The  only  place  for  them  would  be  outside 
where  the  merciful  sunshine  could  reach  them  and  make 
them  clean  from  all  the  dirt  and  evil  with  which  they  are 

God  bless  you,  darling  child.  Our  prayers  and  blessings  sur- 
round you.  I  was  so  pleased  with  the  little  mauve  Easter  egg, 
and  all  the  rest.  But  I  wish  I  could  send  you  back  the  money 
I  know  you  need  for  yourself.  May  the  Holy  Virgin  guard 
you  from  all  danger.     Kiss  your  dear  mother  for  me.     Greet- 

*  By  this  the  Empress  meant  that  the  secret  messenger  would  give 
me  particulars  she  dared  not  write  in  her  letter. 
"  To  a  convent  as  they  desired. 


ings  to  your  old  servant,  the  doctors,  and  Fathers  John  and 
Dosifei.  I  have  seen  the  new  Kommissar,  and  he  really  hasn't 
a  bad  face.  Today  is  Sacha's  (Count  Voronzelf,  aide-de-camp) 

March  21. 

Darling  child,  we  thank  you  for  all  your  gifts,  the  little  eggs, 
the  cards,  and  the  chocolate  for  the  little  one.  Thank  your 
mother  for  the  books.  Father  was  delighted  with  the  cigarettes, 
which  he  found  so  good,  and  also  with  the  sweets.  Snow  has 
fallen  again,  although  the  sunshine  is  bright.  The  little  one's 
leg  is  gradually  getting  better,  he  suffers  less,  and  had  a  really 
good  sleep  last  night.  Today  we  are  expecting  to  be  searched — 
very  agreeable!  I  don't  know  how  it  will  be  later  about  send- 
ing letters.  I  only  hope  it  will  be  possible,  and  I  pray  for  help. 
The  atmosphere  around  us  is  fairly  electrified.  We  feel  that  a 
storm  is  approaching,  but  we  know  that  God  is  merciful,  and 
will  care  for  us.  Things  are  growing  very  anguishing.  Today 
we  shall  have  a  small  service  at  home,  for  which  we  are  thank- 
ful, but  it  is  hard,  nevertheless,  not  to  be  allowed  to  go  to 
church.    You  understand  how  that  is,  my  little  martyr. 

I  shall  not  send  this,  as  ordinarily,  through ,  as  she  too 

is  going  to  be  searched.  It  was  so  nice  of  you  to  send  her  a 
dress.  I  add  my  thanks  to  hers.  Today  is  the  twenty-fourth 
anniversary  of  our  engagement.  How  sad  it  is  to  remember 
that  we  had  to  burn  all  our  letters,  yours  too,  and  others  as 
dear.^^  But  what  was  to  be  done?  One  must  not  attach  one*s 
soul  to  earthly  things,  but  words  written  by  beloved  hands  pene- 
trate the  ven-  heart,  become  a  part  of  life  itself. 

I  wish  I  had  something  sweet  to  send  you,  but  I  haven't  any- 
thing. Why  did  you  not  keep  that  chocolate  for  yourself? 
You  need  it  more  than  the  children  do.     We  are  allowed  one 

"All  purely  personal  letters  were  burned  in  the  palace  at  Tsarskoe 
Selo  as  soon  as  the  news  of  the  Emperor's  abdication  reached  us,  the 
Empress  being  determined   that   her   most   sacred   possessions   should 


and  a  half  pounds  of  sugar  every  month,  but  more  is  always 
given  us  by  kind-hearted  people  here.  I  never  touch  sugar 
during  Lent,  but  that  does  not  seem  to  be  a  deprivation  now. 
I  was  so  sorry  to  hear  that  my  poor  lancer  Ossorgine  had  been 
killed,  and  so  many  others  besides.  What  a  lot  of  misery  and 
useless  sacrifice!  But  they  are  all  happier  now  in  the  other 
world.  Though  we  know  that  the  storm  is  coming  nearer  and 
nearer,  our  souls  are  at  peace.  Whatever  happens  will  be 
through  God's  will.  Thank  God,  at  least,  the  little  one  is 

May  I  send  the  money  back  to  you?  1  am  sure  you  will 
need  it  if  you  have  to  move  again.  God  guard  you.  I  bless 
and  kiss  you,  and  carry  you  always  in  my  heart.  Keep  well  and 
brave.     Greetings  to  all  from  your  ever  loving,  A. 

This  letter,  written  near  the  end  of  March,  191 8, 
was  the  last  I  ever  received  written  by  her  Majesty's 
own  hand.  A  little  later  in  the  spring  of  that  year 
she  and  the  Emperor  were  hurriedly  removed  to 
Ekaterinaburg — the  last  place  from  which  the  world 
has  received  tidings  of  them.  The  children  and  most 
of  the  suite  were  left  behind  in  Tobolsk,  the  poor  little 
Alexel  still  111  and  suffering,  and  cruelly  deprived  of 
the  solace  of  his  mother's  love  and  devotion.  In  May 
I  received  a  brief  letter  from  Grand  Duchess  Olga 
who  with  difficulty  managed  to  get  me  news  of  her 
parents  and  the  family. 

Darling,     I  take  the  first  opportunity  to  write  you  the  latest 

news  we  have  had  from  ours  in  Ekaterinaburg.     They  wrote 

not  be  made  public  by  the  Provisional  Government.  She  never  recov- 
ered from  the  grief  of  destroying  her  youthful  love  letters,  which 
were  more  to  her  than  the  most  costly  jewels  she  possessed,  the  richest 
of  any  sovereign  in  Europe.  To  me  this  is  a  singular  revelation  of 
the  real  character  of  the  Empress. 


on  the  23rd  of  April  that  the  journey  over  the  rough  roads  was 

terrible,  but  that  in  spite  of  great  weariness  they  are  well.   They 

live  in  three  rooms  and  eat  the  same  food  as  the  soldiers.    The 

little  one  is  better  but  is  still  in  bed.     As  soon  as  he  is  well 

enough  to  be  moved  we  shall  join  them.     We  have  had  letters 

from  Zina  but  none  from  Lili.     Have  Alya  and  your  brother 

written  ?    The  weather  has  become  milder,  the  ice  is  out  of  the 

river  Irtish,  but  nothing  is  green  yet.     Darling,  you  must  know 

how  dreadful  it  all  is.    We  kiss  and  embrace  you.     God  bless 



After  this  short  letter  from  Olga  came  a  card  from 
Ekaterinaburg  written  by  one  of  the  Empress's  maids 
at  her  dictation.  It  contained  a  few  loving  words,  and 
the  news  that  they  were  recovering  from  the  fatigue 
of  their  terrible  journey.  They  were  living  in  two 
rooms — probably,  although  this  is  not  stated,  under 
great  privations.  She  hoped,  but  could  not  tell  yet, 
that  our  correspondence  could  be  continued.  It  never 
was.  I  had  a  card  a  little  later  from  Mr.  Gibbs  say- 
ing that  he  and  M.  Gilliard  had  brought  the  children 
from  Tobolsk  to  Ekaterinaburg  and  that  the  family 
was  again  united.  The  card  was  written  from  the 
train  where  he  and  M.  Gilliard  were  living,  not  having 
been  allowed  to  join  the  family  in  their  stockaded 
house.  Mr.  Gibbs  had  an  intuition  that  both  of  these 
devoted  tutors  were  soon  to  be  sent  out  of  the  country 
and  such  proved  to  be  the  case.  This  was  my  last  news 
of  my  Empress  and  of  my  Sovereigns,  best  of  all 
earthly  friends. 

In  July  short  paragraphs  appeared  in  the  Bolshevist 
newspapers    saying   that   by   order   of   the   Soviet   at 


Ekaterinaburg  the  Emperor  had  been  shot  but  that 
the  Empress  and  the  children  had  been  removed  to 
a  place  of  safety.  The  announcement  horrified  me,  yet 
left  me  without  any  exact  conviction  of  its  truth. 
Soviet  newspapers  published  what  they  were  ordered 
to  publish  without  any  regard  whatever  to  facts.  Thus 
when  a  little  later  it  was  announced  that  the  whole 
family  had  been  murdered — executed,  as  they  phrased 
it — imagine  "executing"  five  perfectly  innocent  chil- 
dren ! — I  could  not  make  myself  believe  it.  Yet  little 
by  little  the  public  began  to  believe  it,  and  it  is  certain 
that  Nicholas  II  and  his  family  have  disappeared  be- 
hind one  of  the  world's  greatest  and  most  tragic 
mysteries.  With  them  disappeared  all  of  the  suite  and 
the  servants  who  were  permitted  to  accompany  them 
to  the  house  in  Ekaterinaburg.  My  reason  tells  me 
that  it  is  probable  that  they  were  all  foully  murdered, 
that  they  are  dead  and  beyond  the  sorrows  of  this  life 
forever.  But  reason  is  not  always  amenable.  There 
are  many  of  us  in  Russia  and  in  exile  who,  knowing 
the  vastness  of  the  enormous  empire,  the  remoteness  of 
its  communications  with  the  outside  world,  know  well 
the  possibilities  of  imprisonment  in  monasteries,  in 
mines,  in  deep  forests  from  which  no  news  can  pene- 
trate. We  hope.  That  is  all  I  can  say.  It  is  said, 
although  I  have  no  firsthand  information  on  the  sub- 
ject, that  the  Empress  Dowager  has  never  believed  that 
either  of  her  sons  was  killed.  The  Soviet  newspapers 
published  accounts  of  the  "execution"  of  Grand  Duke 
Michail,  and  strong  evidence  has  been  presented  that 
he  was  murdered  in  Siberia  with  others  of  the  family, 
including  the  Grand  Duchess  Serge.    These  same  news- 


papers,  however,  officially  stated  that  Grand  Duke 
Michail  had  been  assisted  to  escape  by  English 

The  most  fantastic  contradictions  concerning  all 
these  alleged  murders  have  from  time  to  time  cropped 
up.  When  I  was  in  prison  in  the  autumn  of  19 19  a 
fellow  prisoner  of  the  Chekha,  the  wife  of  an  aide-de- 
camp of  Grand  Duke  Michail,  told  me  positively  that 
she  had  received  a  letter  from  the  Emperor's  brother, 
safe  and  well  in  England. 

Perhaps  the  strangest  incident  of  the  kind  happened 
to  me  when  I  was  hiding  from  the  Chekha  after  my 
last  imprisonment  and  my  narrow  escape  from  a 
Kronstadt  firing  squad.  A  woman  unknown  to  me 
approached  me  and  calling  me  by  my  name,  which  of 
course  I  did  not  acknowledge,  showed  me  a  photograph 
of  a  woman  in  nun's  robes  standing  between  two  men, 
priests  or  monks.  "This,"  she  said  mysteriously  and 
in  a  whisper,  "is  one  you  know  well.  She  sent  it  to 
you  by  my  hands  and  asks  you  to  write  her  a  message 
that  you  are  well,  and  also  to  give  your  address  that 
she  may  write  you  a  letter," 

I  looked  long  at  the  photograph — a  poor  pnnt — 
and  I  could  not  deny  to  myself  that  there  was  some- 
thing of  a  likeness  in  the  face,  and  especially  in  the 
long,  delicate  hands.  But  the  Empress  had  always 
been  slender,  and  after  her  ill  health  became  almost 
emaciated.  This  woman  was  stout.  I  might,  had  I 
had  the  slightest  assurance  of  safety,  have  taken  the 
risk  of  writing  my  name  and  address  for  this  stranger. 
But  no  one  in  Russia  takes  such  risks.  The  net  of  the 
Chekha  is  too  far  flung. 


I  have  one  word  more  to  say  about  these  letters  of 
the  Empress  Alexandra  Feodorovna.  I  have  trans- 
lated them  as  faithfully  and  as  literally  as  possible, 
leavmg  out  absolutely  nothing  except  a  few  messages 
of  affection  and  some  religious  expressions  which  seem 
to  me  too  intimate  to  make  public,  and  which  might 
appear  exaggerated  to  western  readers.  I  have  in- 
cluded letters  which  may  be  thought  trivial  in  subject, 
but  I  have  done  it  purposely  because  I  yearned  to 
present  the  Empress  as  she  was,  simple,  self-sacrificing, 
a  devoted  wife,  mother,  and  friend,  an  intense  patriot, 
deeply  and  consistently  religious.  She  had  her  human 
faults  and  failings,  as  she  freely  admits.  Some  of 
these  traits  can  be  described,  as  the  French  express  it, 
as  "the  faults  of  her  quality."  Thus  her  great  love 
for  her  husband,  which  never  ceased  to  be  romantic 
and  youthful,  caused  her  at  times  cruel  heart  pangs. 
Because  this  has  nothing  to  do  with  her  life  or  her 
story  I  should  not  allude  to  the  one  cloud  that  ever 
came  between  us — jealousy.  I  should  leave  that  pain- 
ful, fleeting  episode  alone,  knowing  that  she  would 
wish  it  forgotten,  except  that  in  certain  letters  which 
have  been  published  she  herself  has  spoken  of  it  so 
bitterly  that  were  I  to  omit  mention  of  it  entirely  I 
might  be  accused  of  suppressing  facts. 

I  have,  I  think,  spoken  frankly  of  the  preference  of 
the  Emperor  for  my  society  at  times,  in  long  walks,  in 
tennis,  in  conversation.  In  the  early  part  of  19 14 
the  Empress  was  ill,  very  low-spirited,  and  full  of 
morbid  reflections.  She  was  much  alone,  as  the  Em- 
peror was  occupied  many  hours  every  day,  and  the 
children  were  busy  with   their  lessons.     In  the  Em- 


peror's  leisure  moments  he  developed  a  more  than  or-. 
dinary  desire  for  my  companionship,  perhaps  only  be- 
cause I  was  an  entirely  healthy,  normal  woman,  heart 
and  soul  devoted  to  the  family,  and  one  from  whom 
it  was  never  necessary  to  keep  anything  secret.  We 
were  much  together  in  those  days,  and  before  either  of 
us  realized  it  the  Empress  became  mortally  jealous 
and  suspicious  of  every  movement  of  her  husband  and 
of  myself.  In  letters  written  during  this  period,  es- 
pecially from  the  Crimea  during  the  spring  of  19 14, 
the  Empress  said  some  very  unkind  and  cruel  things  of 
me,  or  at  least  I  should  consider  them  cruel  if  they 
had  not  been  rooted  in  illness,  and  in  physical  and 
mental  misery.  Of  course  the  Court  knew  of  the  es- 
trangement between  us,  and  I  regret  to  say  that  there 
were  many  who  delighted  in  it  and  did  what  they  could 
to  make  it  permanent.  My  only  real  friends  were 
Count  Fredericks,  Minister  of  the  Court,  and  his  two 
daughters,  who  stood  by  me  loyally  and  kept  me  in 

That  this  illusion  of  jealousy  was  entirely  dissipated, 
that  the  Empress  finally  realized  that  my  love  and  de- 
votion for  her  precluded  any  possibility  of  the  things 
she  feared,  her  letters  to  me  from  Siberia  amply  de- 
monstrate. Our  friendship  became  more  deeply 
cemented  than  before,  and  nothing  but  death  can  ever 
sever  the  bond  between  us. 

Other  letters  written  by  the  Empress  to  her  husband 
between  1914  and  1916  have  within  this  past  year 
found  publication  by  a  Russian  firm  in  Berlin.  Some 
of  them  have  been  reproduced  in  the  London  Times, 


and  I  have  no  doubt  that  they  will  also  be  published 
in  America.  These  letters  reveal  the  character  of  the 
Empress  exactly  as  I  knew  her.  It  is  balm  to  my 
bruised  heart  to  read  in  the  London  Times  that  what- 
ever has  been  said  of  her  betrayal,  or  attempted  be- 
trayal of  Russia  during  the  war,  must  be  abandoned  as 
a  legend  without  the  least  foundation.  So  must  also  be 
discarded  accusations  against  her  of  any  but  spiritual 
relations  with  Rasputine.  That  she  believed  in  him 
as  a  man  sent  of  God  is  true,  but  that  his  influence  on 
her,  and  through  her  on  the  Emperor's  policies,  had 
any  political  importance  I  must  steadfastly  deny.  Both 
the  Empress  and  Rasputine  liked  Protopopoff  and 
trusted  him.  But  that  had  nothing  to  do  with  his 
ministerial  tenure.  The  Empress,  and  I  think  also 
Rasputine,  disliked  and  distrusted  Grand  Duke  Nicho- 
las. But  that  had  nothing  to  do  with  his  demission. 
In  these  affairs  the  Emperor  made  his  own  decisions, 
as  I  have  stated.  The  strongest  proof  of  what  I  have 
written  will  be  found  in  the  letters  of  the  Empress, 
those  she  wrote  to  the  Emperor,  to  her  relations  in 
Germany  and  England,  and  those  included  in  this 
volume.  Nothing  contradictory,  nothing  inconsistent 
has  ever  been  discovered,  despite  the  efforts  of  the 
Empress's  bitter  enemies,  the  Provisional  Govern- 
ment and  the  Bolshevists.  Before  all  the  world,  before 
the  historians  of  the  future,  Alexandra  Feodorovna, 
Empress  of  Russia,  stands  absolved. 


TOWARDS  the  close  of  the  summer  of  191 8  life 
in  Russia  became  almost  indescribably  chaotic 
and  miserable.  Most  of  the  shops  were  closed,  and 
only  the  few  who  could  pay  fantastic  prices  were  able 
to  buy  food.  There  was  a  little  bread,  a  very  little 
butter,  some  meat,  and  a  few  farm  products.  Tea  and 
coffee  had  completely  disappeared,  dried  leaves  taking 
their  places,  but  even  these  substitutes  were  frightfully 
dear  and  very  difficult  to  find.  The  trouble  was  that 
the  Bolshevist  authorities  forbade  the  peasants  to  bring 
any  food  into  Petrograd,  and  soldiers  were  kept  on 
guard  at  the  railway  stations  to  confiscate  any  stocks 
that  tried  to  run  the  blockade.  Frequently  the  market 
stalls  were  raided,  and  what  food  was  there  was  seized, 
and  the  merchants  arrested.  Food  smuggling  went  on 
on  a  fairly  large  scale,  and  if  one  had  money  he  could 
at  least  avoid  starvation.  Most  people  of  our  class 
lived  by  selling,  one  by  one,  jewels,  furs,  pictures,  art 
objects,  an  enterprising  class  of  Jewish  dealers  hav- 
ing sprung  up  as  by  magic  to  take  advantage  of  the 
opportunity.  There  was  also  a  new  kind  of  mer- 
chant class,  people  of  the  intelligentsia,  who  knew  the 
value  of  lace,  furs,  old  china  and  embroideries,  who 
dealt  with  us  with  more  courtesy  and  rather  less 
avarice  than  the  Jews. 

My  mother  and  I  fell  into  dire  poverty.     A  home 



we  had,  and  even  a  few  valuable  jewels,  but  we  clung 
to  everything  we  had  as  shipwrecked  sailors  to  their 
life  belts.  We  could  not  look  far  ahead,  and  we  viewed 
complete  bankruptcy  with  fear  and  dread.  I  recall  one 
bitter  day  in  that  summer  sitting  down  on  a  park  bench 
weary  and  desolate  as  any  pauper,  for  I  had  not  in 
my  pocket  money  enough  to  go  home  in  a  tram.  I 
do  not  remember  how  I  got  home,  but  I  remember 
that  in  that  dark  hour  a  former  banker  whom  we  had 
long  known  called  at  our  lodgings  and  told  us  that  he 
had  a  little  money  which  he  was  about  to  smuggle  to 
the  Imperial  Family  in  Siberia.  He  wanted  us  to  ac- 
cept twenty  thousand  rubles  of  this  for  our  immediate 
needs,  and  gladly  we  did  accept  it.  Very  soon  after- 
wards the  banker  suddenly  and  mysteriously  dis- 
appeared, and  his  fate  remains  to  this  day  a  profound 
mystery.  I  do  not  even  know  if  he  succeeded  in  get- 
ting the  money  to  Siberia.  However,  with  the  hope 
he  inspired  in  me  I  began  to  think  of  possible  resources 
which  I  might  turn  to  account.  My  hospital  in  Tsar- 
skoe  Selo  had  been  closed  by  the  Bolsheviki,  but  its 
expensive  equipment  of  furniture,  instruments,  horses 
and  carriages  still  remained,  and  I  employed  a  lawyer 
to  go  over  the  books  and  to  estimate  what  money  I 
could  realize  from  a  sale  of  the  whole  property.  To 
my  dismay  I  learned  that  the  place  with  everything 
in  it  had  been  seized  by  my  director  and  head  nurse 
who,  under  the  Bolshevist  policy  of  confiscation, 
claimed  all,  ostensibly  as  state  property  but  really  as 
their  own,  for  they  had  become  ardent  Bolshevists.  I 
made  a  personal  appeal  to  these  old  employees  of  mine 
to  let  me  have  at  least  one  cow  for  my  mother  who,  be- 


ing  very  frail,  needed  milk.  They  simply  laughed  at 
me.  My  lawyer  took  steps  to  protect  my  rights,  and 
the  result  of  this  rash  action  was  that  the  former 
director  denounced  me  to  the  Chekha  as  a  counter- 
Revolutionist,  and  in  the  middle  of  an  October  night 
our  home  was  invaded  by  armed  men  who  arrested 
me  and  my  nursing  sister,  and  looted  our  rooms  of 
everything  that  caught  their  fancy.  Among  other 
things  they  took  was  a  letter  from  the  Emperor  to  my 
father  explaining  the  conditions  which  led  him  to  as- 
sume supreme  command  of  the  army.  This  letter, 
treasured  by  me,  seemed  to  them  somehow  very 

Driven  ahead  of  the  soldiers,  I  went  downstairs  and 
climbed  into  a  motor  truck  which  conveyed  us  to  the 
headquarters  of  the  Chekha  in  Gorohvaia  Street. 
After  my  name  had  been  taken  by  a  slovenly  official 
I  followed  the  guard  to  one  of  two  large  rooms  which 
formed  the  women's  ward  of  the  prison.  There  must 
have  been  close  to  two  hundred  women  crowded  in 
these  rooms.  They  slept  sometimes  three  to  a  narrow 
bed,  they  lay  on  the  tables  and  even  on  the  bare  floor. 
The  air  of  the  place  was,  of  course,  utterly  foul,  for 
many  of  the  women  were  of  the  class  that  never  washes. 
Some  were  of  gentle  birth  and  breeding,  accused  of  no 
particular  offense,  but  held,  according  to  Bolshevist 
custom,  as  hostages  and  possible  witnesses  for  others 
who  were  under  examination  or  who  were  wanted  and 
could  not  be  found.  In  the  early  morning  all  the 
prisoners  got  up  from  their  narrow  beds  or  the  hard 
floor  and  made  their  way  under  soldier  escort  to  a 
toilet  where  they  washed  their  faces  and  hands.     As 


I  sat  miserably  on  the  edge  of  my  bed  a  woman  came 
up  to  me  introducing  herself  as  Mile.  Shoulgine,  the 
oldest  inhabitant  of  the  place,  and  therefore  a  kind 
of  a  monitor.  It  was  her  business,  she  said,  to  see 
that  each  prisoner  received  food  and  to  handle  any 
letters  or  petitions  the  women  might  desire  to  send 
out.  I  told  her  that  I  desired  to  send  a  petition  to 
the  head  of  the  Chekha,  or  to  whatever  committee 
was  in  charge  of  the  prison,  asking  the  nature  of  the 
charges  against  me,  and  begging  for  an  early  trial. 
This  petition  was  duly  dispatched,  and  very  soon  after 
a  very  large  man,  a  Jew,  came  to  see  me  and  prom- 
ised that  my  affair  would  be  promptly  investigated. 
The  soldiers  on  guard  spoke  to  me  kindly  and  offered, 
if  I  had  money,  to  carry  letters  back  and  forth  from 
my  home.  I  gave  them  money  and  was  comforted  to 
hear  from  my  mother  that  Dr.  Manouchine  was  once 
more  working  for  my  release.  Although  not  a  Bol- 
shevist, the  doctor's  skill  was  greatly  respected  by  the 
Communists,  who  had  appointed  him  head  physician 
of  the  old  Detention  House.  There  was  a  student 
doctor  attached  to  our  prison,  and  merely  because 
he  was  a  friend  of  Dr.  Manouchine  and  knew  that  I 
was  also,  he  was  courteous  and  attentive  to  me.  So 
potent  is  the  influence  of  a  truly  great  character. 

The  five  days  I  spent  in  that  filthy,  crowded  cell 
will  never  leave  my  memory.  Every  moment  was  a 
nightmare.  Twice  a  day  they  served  us  with  bowls 
of  so-called  soup,  hot  water  with  a  little  grease  and 
a  few  wilted  vegetables.  This  with  small  pieces  of 
sour  black  bread  was  all  the  food  vouchsafed  us. 
Some  of  the  prisoners  got  additional  food  from  out- 


side,  and  usually  these  fortunate  ones  divided  what 
they  had  with  the  others.  There  was  one  beautiful 
woman  of  the  half-world  who  daily  received  from 
some  source  ample  food,  and  like  most  of  the  women 
of  her  class  she  was  generous.  I  was  told  that  she 
had  been  arrested  because  she  had  hidden  and  helped 
her  lover,  a  White  officer,  to  escape,  and  that  she 
felt  proud  to  be  suffering  for  his  sake.  Perhaps 
it  was  from  friends  of  his  that  she  received  the 
food,  yet  women  of  her  kind,  God  knows,  very 
seldom  meet  with  gratitude  even  from  those  who  owe 
it  most. 

Although  I  was  accused  of  no  crime  and  had  no 
idea  what  accusations  could  be  brought  against  me, 
I  lived  as  all  the  others  lived,  in  a  state  of  constant 
anxiety  and  fear.  All  day  and  all  night  we  heard  the 
sound  of  motors  and  of  motor  horns,  we  saw  prison- 
ers brought  in,  and  from  our  windows  we  could  see 
great  quantities  of  loot  which  the  Bolshevist  soldiers 
had  collected,  silver,  pictures,  rich  wearing  apparel, 
everything  that  appealed  to  them  as  valuable.  In 
the  courtyard  we  could  see  the  men  fighting  like 
wolves  over  their  spoils.  It  was  like  living  in  a 
pirates'  den  rather  than  a  prison,  and  yet  we  were 
often  enough  reminded  that  we  were  prisoners.  One 
day  all  the  women  in  my  room  were  roughly  ordered 
into  a  larger  room  literally  heaped  with  archives  of 
the  Imperial  Government.  With  soldiers  standing 
over  us  we  set  to  work  like  charwomen  to  sort  the 
papers  and  tie  them  up  in  neat  bundles.  Very  often 
in  the  night  when  we  were  sleeping  exhausted  in  our 
cell  rooms  the  electric  lights  would  suddenly  be  turned 


on,  guards  would  call  out  names,  and  half  a  dozen 
frightened  women  would  get  up,  gather  their  rags 
about  them,  and  go  out.  Some  returned,  some  dis- 
appeared. No  one  knew  whose  turn  would  come  next 
or  what  her  fate  would  be. 

The  name  of  my  nursing  sister  was  called  before 
mine,  and  within  a  short  time  she  returned  smiling  to 
say  that  she  was  to  be  sent  home  at  once  and  that  I 
should  soon  follow.  Two  hours  later  soldiers  ap- 
peared at  the  grating  and  one  called  out  my  surname: 
"Tanieva,  to  Viborg  Prison."  I  had  spirit  enough 
to  demand  the  papers  consigning  me  to  this  dread 
women's  prison,  but  the  soldiers  merely  pushed  me 
back  with  the  butts  of  their  guns  and  bade  me  lose 
no  time  in  obeying  orders.  I  still  had  a  little  money 
with  which  I  paid  for  a  cab  instead  of  walking  the 
long  distance  to  the  prison,  and  I  begged  the  soldiers 
to  stop  on  the  way  and  let  me  see  my  mother.  For 
this  privilege  I  offered  all  the  money  remaining  in  my 
purse,  which  the  soldiers  took,  also  bargaining  for  the 
ring  I  wore  on  my  hand.  This  I  declined  to  give  so 
they  philosophically  said:  "Oh,  well,  why  not?"  And 
stopped  the  cab  at  the  door  of  my  mother's  lodgings. 
Of  course  my  poor  mother  was  overjoyed  to  see  me, 
even  for  a  moment,  and  so  was  old  Berchik,  now  al- 
most at  the  end  of  his  life.  Both  assured  me  that 
everything  was  being  done  in  my  behalf  and  that  at 
the  Viborg  prison  I  would  be  in  less  danger  of  death 
than  at  the  Chekha  headquarters.  I  might  even  hope 
to  be  admitted  to  the  prison  hospital. 

A  little  heartened  in  spite  of  myself  I  went  on  to 
Viborg,  which  lies  in  a  far  quarter  of  the  town  on 


what  is  known  as  the  Viborg  side  of  the  Neva.  A 
rather  pretty  Bolshevist  girl  was  in  charge  of  the 
receiving  office,  and  when  I  pleaded  ill  health  and 
asked  to  be  sent  to  the  hospital  she  promised  to  see 
what  could  be  done.  Viborg  prison  was  one  of  many 
which  during  the  first  frenzied  days  of  the  Revolution 
were  thrown  open,  the  prisoners  released,  and  the 
wardresses  murdered.  I  do  not  know  how  other 
women  were  induced  to  take  their  places,  but  I  do 
know  that  the  women  in  whose  charge  I  was  placed 
were  so  kind  and  considerate  that  had  any  attempt 
been  made  against  them  the  prisoners  themselves  would 
have  fought  in  their  defense.  The  wardress  who 
locked  me  in  my  cell  stopped  to  say  a  comforting 
word,  and  because  she  saw  that  I  was  shivering  with 
cold  as  well  as  nervousness,  she  brought  me  bread 
and  a  little  hot  soup. 

After  some  hours  I  had  another  visitor.  Princess 
Kakouatoff,  accused  of  being  the  ringleader  of  an 
anti-Bolshevist  plot,  who  had  been  six  months  in 
Viborg  and  was  regarded  as  a  "trusty."  Among  other 
privileges  she  had  the  right  to  telephone  friends  of 
new  prisoners,  and  at  my  request  she  telephoned  mes- 
sages to  friends  who  could  be  of  use  to  my  mother  if 
not  to  me.  The  princess  brought  me  a  little  portion 
of  fish  which  I  ate  hungrily,  and  I  think  she  was 
also  instrumental  in  finally  getting  me  into  the  prison 
hospital.  This  was  after  I  had  fainted  on  the  floor 
of  my  cell,  and  everyone  in  authority,  including  the 
prison  doctor,  knew  that  I  was  in  no  condition  to 
endure  the  noisy  confusion  of  the  huge  cell  house.  The 
hospital   was   a   little    cleaner   than    the    rest   of   the 


prison,  but  it  was  a  pretty  dreadful  place  just  the 
same.  For  nurses  we  had  good-conduct  prisoners, 
women  of  low  type  who  stole  food  and  everything 
else  they  could  lay  hands  on.  They  stripped  me  of  my 
clothes,  substituting  the  prison  chemise  and  blue  dress- 
ing gown,  and  took  away  all  my  hairpins.  I  was  given 
a  bed  in  a  room  with  six  other  women,  one  of  them 
a  particularly  awful  syphilis  case,  and  two  others,  very 
dirty,  who  spent  most  of  their  time  going  over  each 
other's  heads  for  vermin.  I  stayed  in  this  ghastly 
place  a  very  short  time,  a  woman  doctor  and  a  prisoner 
of  my  own  class.  Baroness  Rosen,  succeeding  in  get- 
ting me  transferred  to  a  better  ward.  Nevertheless 
the  whole  prison  hospital  was  horrible.  The  trusties 
in  charge  of  the  wards  were  in  the  habit  of  eating  the 
meat  out  of  the  prisoners'  bowls,  and  fighting  for  food 
among  prisoners  throughout  the  institution  was  a 
daily  occurrence.  I  can  describe  Viborg  prison  and 
most  of  its  inmates  in  one  word — beastly.  Many  of 
the  women  were  syphilitic,  most  were  verminous, 
some  were  half  mad.  One  who  slept  near  me  had 
murdered  her  husband  and  burned  his  body.  Nearly 
all  sang  the  most  obscene  songs  and  held  unrepeatable 
conversations.  Mostly  they  were  so  depraved  that 
the  doctor  in  his  rounds  showed  that  he  was  afraid 
of  them.  Yet  there  were  among  them  a  few  women 
who,  like  myself,  had  led  sheltered  and  religious  lives, 
and  who  were  only  now  learning  that  such  abandoned 
specimens  of  womanhood  existed  on  the  earth.  There 
was  no  attempt  at  reforming  the  women.  Once  there 
had  been  a  church  attached  to  the  prison,  but  this 
the  BolshevikI  had  closed,   substituting  a  cinema  to 


which  on  special  occasions  some  of  the  prisoners  were 
admitted.  Not  many  political  prisoners  had  this 
privilege  because  they  were  treated  much  more  rigor- 
ously than  common  criminals.  It  was  the  common 
criminals  also,  the  thieves,  murderers,  prostitutes, 
who  were  released  in  advance  of  "counter-Revolution- 
ists," those  accused,  however  vaguely,  of  political 

All  the  prisons  of  Petrograd  by  this  time  were  so 
crowded  with  so-called  political  prisoners  that  even 
the  women's  prison  was  obliged  to  receive  an  over- 
flow of  sick  men  prisoners.  This  wholesale  imprison- 
ment of  anti-Bolshevists  naturally  led  to  the  shooting 
of  thousands  of  citizens,  shooting  being  simpler  than 
feeding  and  housing,  and  in  addition  an  economy  of 
effort  on  the  part  of  those  charged  with  the  mockery 
of  trials.  Later  the  Chekha  dispensed  with  this 
mockery,  but  in  those  days  prisoners  were  given  the 
pretense  of  a  hearing.  I  can  testify  to  their  futility, 
because  I  went  through  more  than  half  a  dozen  trials 
and  in  no  case  was  I  accused  of  any  crime,  tried  for 
any  definite  offense,  or  given  anything  like  a  fair  hear- 
ing. On  September  lO,  191 8,  word  was  brought  to 
the  VIborg  prison  that  on  the  next  morning  I  was  to 
be  taken  away  not  to  return.  This  seemed  to  be  a 
death  sentence,  and  all  that  night  I  lay  awake  think- 
ing of  my  poor  mother  and  wondering  what  would  be- 
come of  her  alone  in  the  midst  of  the  Bolshevist  in- 
ferno. Silently  and  long  I  prayed  for  her  and  for  the 
peaceful  release  of  my  own  tried  soul. 

Very  early  in  the  morning  I  was  summoned,  my  own 
clothes  were  given  me,  and  I  was  led  to  the  receiving 


office  of  the  prison.  Here  two  soldiers  waited,  and  I 
was  taken  out  between  them  and  marched  to  the  head- 
quarters of  the  Chekha.  In  a  small,  dirty  room  I 
underwent  an  examination  by  two  Jewish  Communists, 
one  of  whom,  Vladimirov — nearly  all  Jewish  Com- 
munists assume  Russian  names — being  prominent  in 
the  councils  of  the  Communist  central  committee.  For 
fully  an  hour  these  men  did  everything  they  could  to 
terrorize  me.  They  accused  me  of  being  a  spy,  of 
plotting  against  the  Chekha,  of  being  a  dangerous 
counter-Revolutionist.  They  told  me  that  I  was  to 
be  shot  at  once  and  that  they  intended  to  shoot  all 
the  intellectuals  and  the  "Bourju,"  leaving  the  pro- 
letariat in  full  possession  of  Russia.  They  continued 
this  bluster  until  from  sheer  weariness  they  stopped, 
then  one  of  the  men  leaned  his  elbows  on  the  table  and 
with  a  smile  that  was  meant  to  be  ingratiating  said 
confidentially:  "I  tell  you  what.  You  relate  the  true 
story  of  Rasputine  and  perhaps  we  won't  have  you 
shot,  at  least  not  today."  I  assured  the  man  that  I 
knew  no  more  about  Rasputine  than  they  did,  perhaps 
not  as  much,  since  I  had  no  access  to  police  records 
and  they  had.  Then  they  wanted  to  know  all  about 
the  Czar  and  the  life  of  the  Court.  As  well  as  I  could 
I  satisfied  their  curiosity,  which  was  that  of  ignorant 
children,  and  at  the  end  of  an  exhausting  interroga- 
tion they  actually  sent  me,  not  to  a  wall  and  a  firing 
squad,  but  back  to  the  filthy  cell  in  the  Viborg  prison. 
I  dropped  on  my  dirty  bed,  swallowed  a  little  food 
brought  me  by  a  sympathetic  fellow  prisoner,  and 
resigned  myself  for  what  next  might  happen  to  me. 
What  happened  was  astonishing.     A  soldier  came  to 


the  door  and  called  out:  "Tanieva,  with  your  things 
to  go  home." 

Within  a  short  time  I  stood  trembling  and  weak  on 
the  pavement  in  front  of  the  prison.  I  could  not  have 
walked  to  my  lodgings,  in  fact  I  felt  incapable  of 
walking  at  all,  but  a  strange  woman  observing  me  and 
my  piteous  condition  approached,  put  her  arm  around 
me,  and  helped  me  into  a  drosky.  I  had  a  little  money, 
perhaps  fifty  rubles,  and  I  gave  it  all  to  the  ischvostik 
to  drive  me  home.  Here  I  found  an  amazing  state 
of  affairs,  the  general  immorality  and  demoralization 
into  which  Bolshevism  was  driving  the  people  having 
penetrated  our  own  place.  Everyone  was  turning 
thief,  and  my  nursing  sister,  who  had  been  with  me 
since  1905,  whom  my  mother  had  treated  like  a 
daughter,  had  become  inoculated  with  the  virus  of 
evil.  The  woman  had  not  only  appropriated  almost 
all  the  clothes  I  possessed,  but  had  stolen  all  the 
trinkets  and  bits  of  jewelry  she  could  lay  hands  on. 
She  had  even  taken  the  carpets  from  the  floors  and 
stored  them  in  her  room.  Not  daring  to  attempt  to 
regain  any  of  this  property  I  asked  the  nurse  to  please 
take  what  she  wanted  and  leave  the  apartment.  "Not 
at  all,"  she  replied,  "This  place  suits  me  very  well 
and  as  long  as  I  choose  I  shall  remain."  She  had  em- 
braced Bolshevism,  not  I  am  sure  from  principle,  but 
as  the  safest  policy,  and  in  time  she  became  rich  in 
jewels,  finery,  and  miscellaneous  loot.  It  was  months 
before  we  finally  induced  her  to  leave,  and  after  her 
departure  I  have  reason  to  believe  that  she  did  every- 
thing she  could  to  keep  me  in  trouble  with  the 


By  this  time  the  Communist  regime  was  fully 
organized.  The  whole  town  was  divided  into  dis- 
tricts, each  one  under  command  of  a  group  of  soldiers 
who  had  full  license  to  search — and  rob — houses,  and 
to  make  arrests.  Every  night  the  search  went  on. 
At  seven  o'clock  all  electric  lights  were  turned  off,  and 
when,  two  or  three  hours  later,  they  suddenly 
flashed  up  again,  every  soul  in  the  district  was  seized 
with  fear,  knowing  that  this  was  the  signal  for  the 
invasion.  Often  women  were  included  in  the  search- 
ing parties,  terrible  women  dressed  in  silks  and  strung 
with  jewelry,  stolen  of  course  from  the  hated 
"Bourju."  Seven  times  our  home  was  raided,  once  on 
the  authority  of  an  anonymous  letter  charging  that 
we  were  in  possession  of  firearms.  Once  more  I  was 
dragged  off  to  an  interminable  examination,  this  time 
before  the  staff  of  the  Red  Army  in  a  house  in  Gogol 
Street.  The  close  connection  between  the  Chekha  and 
the  Red  Army  was  apparent  because  in  the  two  hours 
during  which  I  sat  in  the  ante-chamber  waiting  exami- 
nation a  Lettish  official  of  the  Chekha  passed  freely 
in  and  out  of  the  committee  room,  occasionally  throw- 
ing me  a  reassuring  word.  My  case  would  be  settled 
favorably,  he  said,  and  it  was,  for  the  committee  after 
bullying  me  for  a  length  of  time,  dropped  the  subject 
of  concealed  firearms,  assumed  the  snobbish  and  half 
cringing  air  with  which  I  was  becoming  familiar  to 
the  point  of  nausea,  and  began  asking  questions  about 
the  Imperial  household.  They  produced  a  large 
album  of  photographs  and  made  me  go  through  it 
and  identify  each  picture.  Finally  the  head  inquisitor 
told  me  magnanimously  that  I  could  go  home,  cleared 


by  the  highest  authority,  but  that  soldiers  would  go 
with  me  and  make  sure  that  there  were  no  revolvers 
or  pistols  in  the  house.  The  search  was  made  anew, 
and  then  the  men  left,  obviously  disappointed  that 
practically  nothing  worth  stealing  had  come  to  light. 

Two  things  of  importance  were  happening  in  those 
days.  The  White  Army  was  approaching  Petrograd, 
and  in  all  the  streets  soldiers  were  drilling  in  anticipa- 
tion of  a  battle.  Airplanes  whirred  overhead,  and 
once  in  so  often  a  shell  screamed  over  the  housetops. 
We  prayed  for  the  coming  of  the  White  Army,  and 
at  the  same  time  dreaded  the  massacres  we  knew 
would  precede  its  entry  into  the  town.  The  second 
thing  that  marked  this  date  was  the  Communist  sys- 
tem of  public  feeding,  free  food  being  furnished  by 
cards  distributed  according  to  the  status  of  the  indi- 
vidual. The  Bolshevist  authorities  and  the  soldiers 
of  course  had  the  most  food  and  the  best.  Next 
came  the  proletariat,  so-called,  and  last  of  all  the 
"Bourju"  was  provided  for.  These  of  the  lowest 
strata  in  society  got  hardly  anything  at  all  and  would 
have  starved,  most  of  them,  had  it  not  been  for  the 
food  smuggling  which  constantly  went  on,  the  peas- 
ants from  out  of  town  boldly  bringing  in  bulky  parcels, 
and  taking  back  in  return  for  their  food,  not  Bolshe- 
vist money,  which  they  disdained,  but  everything  they 
could  accumulate  in  the  way  of  furniture  or  dress  ma- 
terials. They  even  accepted  window  curtains  and 
table  linen,  anything,  in  fact,  that  could  be  fashioned 
Into  clothing.  These  same  peasants  before  the 
Revolution  had  been  expert  spinners  and  weavers,  but 
now  they  scorned  such  plebeian  occupations  because  it 


was  easier  to  barter  grains,  milk,  vegetables,  and 
other  produce  for  the  last  possessions  of  the  towns- 

We  went  on  living,  somehow,  parting  with  clothing 
and  furniture,  burning  boxes  and  even  chairs  for  fuel, 
walking  miles  for  stray  bits  of  wood,  praying  for  the 
success  of  the  White  forces,  praying  for  protection 
against  what  must  happen  before  that  success  could 
be  achieved.  My  mother  all  these  days  was  very  ill 
with  dysentery,  which  was  rife  in  Petrograd,  and  I 
had  that  additional  suffering,  for  I  knew  that  it  would 
take  little  to  bring  her  frail  life  to  an  end. 


ON  September  22  (October  6,  New  Style)  I  went 
In  the  evening  to  a  lecture  in  a  church.  At  that 
time  every  non-Bolshevist  spent  as  many  hours  every 
day  as  possible  in  the  churches,  praying  or  listening  to 
words  of  hope  and  comfort  from  the  priests.  The 
church  was,  in  fact,  the  only  lome  of  peace  and  rest 
in  the  whole  of  the  distracted  country.  That  particu- 
lar night  in  church  I  met  some  old  friends  who  invited 
me  to  go  home  with  them  ra\  ler  than  walk,  the  long 
and  dreary,  even  the  dangeroii  way  back  to  my  lodg- 
ings. I  stayed  with  my  friends  that  night,  and  the  next 
morning  early  I  went  to  mass  in  the  little  church  where 
Father  John  of  Kronstadt  lies  buried.  I  reached  home 
about  midday,  and  found  the  place  in  the  possession  of 
soldiers,  two  of  whom  had  waited  the  entire  night  to 
arrest  me,  this  time  as  a  hostage,  the  White  Army 
being  reported  within  a  few  miles  of  Petrograd.  My 
sick  mother  prepared  me  a  little  food,  made  a  parcel 
of  my  scanty  linen,  and  once  more  we  bade  each  other 
the  despairing  farewell  of  two  who  knew  that  they 
might  never  meet  again  on  earth.  I  was  quickly  con- 
veyed to  the  headquarters  of  the  Chekha  where  I  was 
greeted  with  the  exultant  welcome:  "Aha!  Here  we 
have  the  bird  who  has  dared  to  stay  out  a  whole  night." 
Thrust  into  the  old  filthy,  ill-smelling  cell  room  I 
found  a  spot  near  a  dirty  window  from  which  I  could 



get  a  far  glimpse  of  the  golden  dome  of  St.  Isaac's 
Cathedral.  During  my  whole  term  in  this  place  I 
kept  my  eyes  and  my  whole  mind  on  that  golden  dome, 
trying  to  forget  the  hell  that  whirled  around  me.  The 
woman  in  charge  of  the  room  was  a  Finnish  girl  who 
had  committed  the  crime  of  trying  to  run  away  to 
Finland.  She  was  a  stenographer  and  clerk,  and  the 
Chekha  used  her  by  night  as  an  office  assistant. 
Whether  by  nature  or  by  association  she  had  become 
as  hard  and  as  ruthless  as  her  captors,  and  her  im- 
prisonment had  many  mitigations.  It  was  her  pleasant 
duty  to  make  out  the  lists  of  those  who,  twice  a  week, 
were  taken  to  Kronstadt  to  be  shot,  and  her  reports 
on  the  subject  which  she  confided  regularly  to  her 
chosen  comrade,  a  Georgian  dancer  named  Menabde, 
were  enough  to  sicken  even  those  of  us  who  had  become 
accustomed  to  wholesale  slaughter  of  unoffending 
human  beings.  We  heard  little  else  except  death  and 
threats  of  death  in  this  place.  There  was  an  official 
named  Boze  in  the  prison,  and  often  we  heard  him 
screeching  through  the  telephone  to  his  wife  that  he 
would  be  late  to  dinner  that  night  because  he  had  a 
load  of  "game"  to  get  off  to  Kronstadt.  Under  such 
conditions  pity  and  sympathy  become  strangely  dulled. 
On  occasions  when  I  was  sent  to  the  kitchens  for  hot 
water  I  used  to  get  glimpses  of  the  "game,"  huddled 
wretchedly  in  their  seats  or  restlessly  pacing  their  cells 
— waiting.  Often  when  I  returned  with  the  water  I 
found  the  seats  and  the  cells  empty,  and  although  my 
heart  sank  and  my  senses  swam,  I  never  felt  the  scream- 
ing horror  a  normal  person  would  have  felt.  This 
dulling  of  the  emotions,  I  suppose,  is  nature's  way  of 


keeping  the  mind  from  giving  way  entirely.  Of  course 
nature  took  away  all  human  dignity  and  self-respect, 
this,  too,  In  mercy.  Any  prisoner  who  went  to  the 
kitchens  was  greeted  with  jeers  and  foul  abuse  from 
the  cooks  who  threw  us  handfuls  of  potato  parings 
and  withered  cabbage  leaves,  quite  as  one  would  throw 
bones  to  dogs.  Like  dogs  we  eagerly  snatched  at 
these  leavings,  because  the  prisoners'  regular  rations 
were  nothing  half  as  palatable,  being  mostly  wormy 
dried  fish  and  a  disgusting  substitute  for  bread. 

One  day  I  was  called  up  for  examination,  and  this 
time  a  real  surprise  awaited  me.  My  judge  was  an 
Esthonian  named  Otto,  not  altogether  a  brutal  man, 
as  it  turned  out.  As  I  approached  his  desk  he  regarded 
me  grimly  and  without  a  word  handed  me  a  letter,  un- 
signed, and  reading  about  as  follows:  "To  the  Lady 
In  Waiting,  Anna  Viroubova.  You  are  the  only  one 
who  can  save  us  from  this  terrible  Bolshevik  admin- 
istration, as  you  are  at  the  head  of  a  great  organiza- 
tion fully  equipped  with  guns  and  ammunition." 
Sternly  the  Esthonian  judge  commanded  me  to  tell 
him  the  truth  about  the  organization  of  which  I  was 
the  head.  Of  course  I  told  him  that  the  whole  thing 
was  an  Invention,  and  he  astonished  me  by  saying  that 
although  the  letter  had  been  posted  to  my  address  he 
had  very  much  doubted  Its  verity.  Then  he  asked, 
almost  gently:  "Are  you  very  hungry?"  Taken  off 
my  guard  as  much  by  the  kindness  as  by  the  prospect 
of  food,  I  fell  against  the  desk  murmuring  only  half 
aloud:  "Hungry?  Yes,  oh,  yes."  Whereupon  he 
opened  a  drawer  of  his  desk  and  handed  me  a  large 
piece  of  fresh,  sweet  bread.     "Go  now,"  he  said,  "and 


I  will  discuss  your  case  with  my  colleague  Vikman.    In 
the  evening  we  will  see  you  again." 

At  eleven  that  night  I  was  again  summoned,  this 
time  before  the  two  men.  The  Esthonian,  still  kind 
and  courteous,  gave  me  a  glass  of  steaming  tea,  which 
did  much  to  lend  me  courage.  Both  he  and  Vikman 
then  put  me  through  a  searching  examination  especially 
about  my  relations,  real  and  assumed,  with  the  Im- 
perial Family  and  with  persons  of  the  Court.  At  three 
in  the  morning  they  released  me,  more  dead  than  alive 
with  fatigue.  Otto  telling  me  heartily  that  he  thought 
I  would  be  set  free  within  a  few  days.  Vikman,  how- 
ever, declared  that  my  case  would  have  to  be  referred 
to  Moscow  and  that  I  need  not  expect  an  early  release. 
I  went  back  to  my  evil  cage  expecting  nothing.  I  knew, 
that  the  threat  of  the  White  Army  advance  filled  with 
terror  the  whole  Bolshevist  population,  and  that  in 
case  of  actual  battle  no  life  outside  the  slim  Communist 
ranks  would  be  worth  the  smallest  scrap  of  their  worth- 
less paper  money. 

Very  shortly  after  my  return  to  the  cell  room  I  be- 
gan to  hear  my  name  whispered  from  one  wretched 
woman  to  another,  and  I  accepted  this  without  much 
emotion  as  a  prelude  to  a  boat  journey  to  Kronstadt. 
Early  on  a  certain  morning  a  soldier  approached  the 
door  and  bawled  out:  "Tanieva,  you  to  Moscow."  I 
happened  to  be  exceedingly  ill  that  day,  but  me- 
chanically I  picked  up  my  little  handkerchief  contain- 
ing my  few  possessions,  including  a  Bible,  and  followed 
the  escort  of  two  soldiers  down  the  steep  steps,  as  I 
believed,  to  my  death.  Perhaps  they  had  orders  to 
take  me  to  Kronstadt,  I  cannot  be  sure  of  that,  but  I 


do  know  that  the  route  we  followed  did  not  lead  to 
the  Moscow  station.  We  had  walked  but  a  short  dis- 
tance when  one  of  the  soldiers  said  to  the  other: 
"What's  the  good  of  two  of  us  bothering  with  one 
lame  woman?  Til  take  care  of  her  and  you  can  go 
along.  It  will  soon  be  over  anyway,"  Nothing  loath 
the  other  soldier,  glad  to  get  out  of  anything  resem- 
bling work,  took  himself  off  while  I,  in  charge  of  one 
armed  man,  mounted  the  crowded  tram  and  rode  on 
toward  an  unknown  destination.  At  a  certain  point  we 
had  to  change  trams,  and  here  occurred  an  incident  so 
extraordinary  that  I  almost  hesitate  to  strain  the 
credulity  of  a  non-Russian  reader  by  relating  it.  The 
second  tram  had  been  delayed  for  some  reason,  and 
a  considerable  crowd  of  passengers  was  waiting  for 
it  on  the  street  corner.  My  soldier  stood  at  my  side 
waiting  with  the  rest,  but  soon  he  became  impatient. 
Ordering  me  not  to  move  an  inch  in  his  absence,  he  ran 
down  the  street  a  short  distance  to  see  if  the  tram 
were  in  sight.  As  soon  as  he  turned  his  back,  people 
In  the  crowd  began  to  speak  to  me.  A  girl  in  whom 
I  recognized  a  former  acquaintance  asked  me  where  I 
was  going,  and  when  I  told  her  she  took  a  bracelet  I 
gave  her  and  promised  to  carry  It,  with  news  of  my 
fate,  to  my  poor  mother.  An  officer  of  the  old  army 
came  up  to  me  saying:  "Are  you  not  Anna 
Alexandrovna?"  And  when  I  said  yes,  he  too  asked 
me  where  I  was  being  taken.  "Kronstadt,  I  think,"  I 
answered,  but  he  said:  "Who  knows?"  and  pressed 
into  my  hands  a  roll  of  bills  saying  that  they  might  be 
of  use  to  me. 

Other  people  surrounded  me,  mostly  strangers,  but 


two  of  them  women  whom  I  had  often  seen  at  mass 
in  the  small  church  of  Father  John.  They  said: 
"Why  should  you  be  shot?  The  soldier  has  not  come 
back.  Run  while  the  chance  is  yours.  Father  John 
will  surely  help  you."  Encouraged  by  their  sympathy, 
yet  hardly  knowing  what  I  was  doing,  I  limped  off 
on  my  crutch  much  faster  than  I  could  have  believed 
possible,  the  whole  street-corner  crowd  spreading  out 
to  shield  my  flight.  I  limped  and  stumbled  down 
Michel  Street  as  far  as  the  Nevski  Prospekt  weeping 
and  praying  all  the  time:  "God  save  me!  God  save 
me!"  until  I  reached  the  old  shopping  arcade  known 
as  the  Gostiny  Dvor.  Here  I  caught  sight  of  my 
soldier  running  in  frantic  pursuit  of  his  escaped 
prisoner.  It  seemed  all  over  with  me  then  but  I 
crouched  in  a  corner  of  the  deserted  building  and 
miraculously  the  soldier  ran  on  without  seeing  me. 
As  soon  as  I  thought  it  at  all  safe  I  crept  out  of  the 
old  arcade  and  turned  into  the  Zagorodny  Prospekt, 
where  I  found  a  solitary  cab.  "Take  me  quickly,"  I 
cried  to  the  ischvostik.  "My  mother  is  dying."  The 
man  replied  indifferently  that  he  had  a  fare  waiting, 
but  I  thrust  into  his  hands  the  entire  roll  of  bills  given 
me  by  the  friendly  officer,  at  the  same  time  climbing 
into  the  drosky. 

Said  the  ischvostik,  "Where  shall  I  drive  you?"  I 
gasped  out  the  address  of  a  friend  in  the  suburbs  of 
the  city,  and  the  man  lashed  his  half-starved  animal 
into  a  walk.  After  what  seemed  to  me  many  hours  we 
reached  the  place,  I  rang  the  doorbell  and  fell  across 
the  threshold  in  a  dead  faint. 

My  friend  and  her  husband  courageously  took  me 


in,  fed,  warmed  me,  and  put  me  to  bed.  They  even 
dared  to  send  word  to  my  mother  that  I  was  for  the 
moment  safe  from  pursuit,  but  they  warned  her  not 
to  come  near  the  house  as  soldiers  would  certainly  be 
watching  her  every  movement.  As  a  matter  of  fact 
my  mother  was  visited  by  Red  soldiers,  arrested  in  her 
bed,  and  closely  guarded  for  three  weeks.  Our  maid 
also  was  arrested,  as  was  everyone  who  came  to  the 
house.  The  old  Berchick  who  had  spent  almost  his 
entire  lifetime  in  the  service  of  our  family  was  taken 
ill  during  this  period  and  died.  For  five  days  his  body 
lay  uncoffined  in  the  house,  the  Bolshevist  authorities 
refusing  him  a  burial  permit.  It  was  for  my  mother 
an  interval  of  utter  despair,  since  in  addition  to  the 
death  of  Berchick  she  lived  in  constant  fear  of  my  re- 
arrest. In  the  opinion  of  the  Bolshevist  soldiers,  how- 
ever, I  had  escaped  to  the  White  Army,  and  photo- 
graphs of  me  were  posted  conspicuously  in  all  the  rail- 
way stations. 

The  kind  friends  who  had  taken  me  in  dared  not 
for  their  lives  keep  me  long,  and  wishing  them  nothing 
of  harm  I  set  out  on  a  dark  night  without  a  kopeck 
in  my  pockets  and  with  no  certain  idea  where  I  could 
find  a  bed.  I  had  in  mind  a  religious  hostel,  a  place 
where  a  few  students,  men  and  women,  lived  under  the 
chaperonage  of  an  old  nun.  There  I  went,  begging 
them  for  Christ's  sake  to  take  me  in,  and  there  I  was 
hidden  for  five  perilous  days.  A  girl  student  volun- 
teered to  go  to  see  my  mother,  and  go  she  did,  but 
when  hours  passed,  a  day  passed,  and  she  did  not  re- 
turn, a  panic  of  fear  seized  all  of  us,  and  rather  than 
expose  these  kind  people  to  risk  of  imprisonment  and 


death  I  voluntarily  left  the  place.     What  else  could 
I  do? 

How  shall  I  describe  the  horrors  of  the  next  few 
months?  Like  a  hunted  animal  I  crept  from  one 
shelter  to  another,  always  leaving  when  it  seemed  at 
all  possible  that  my  protectors  might  be  punished  for 
their  charity.  Four  nights  I  spent  in  the  cell  of  an 
old  nun  whom  I  knew,  but  pitying  her  fears  I  put  on 
the  black  head  kerchief  of  a  peasant  woman  and 
started  in  a  cab,  on  borrowed  money,  for  the  house  of 
a  friend  near  the  Alexandra  Lavra  on  the  outskirts  of 
the  town.  All  unknown  to  me  a  decree  had  that  day 
been  issued  that  no  one  could  ride  in  a  cab  without 
written  permission  from  the  authorities.  Consequently 
before  we  had  traveled  half  the  journey  the  cab  was 
stopped  by  two  women  police,  fierce  creatures  armed 
with  rifles,  who  called  out  to  the  ischvostik:  "Halt! 
We  arrest  you  and  your  passenger."  Hastily  I 
crammed  all  the  money  I  had  into  the  ischvostik's  hand 
and  begged  the  women  to  let  me  go  as  I  had  just  been 
discharged  from  hospital  and  knew  nothing  of  the 
new  rule.  Oddly  enough  they  let  us  drive  on,  but  very 
soon  the  ischvostik,  sick  with  terror,  stopped  his  horse 
and  told  me  that  he  would  take  me  no  further.  I  got 
out  and  staggered  on  through  the  muddy  snow,  for  it 
was  now  late  in  the  autumn  of  19 19.  A  former  officer 
whom  I  had  once  known  well  met  and  recognizing  me 
asked  if  he  might  not  accompany  me  to  my  destina- 
tion. "No,  no,"  I  cried.  "It  would  be  madness  for 
you  to  be  seen  with  me.  I  cannot  explain,  only  go, 
go,  as  fast  as  you  can."  I  staggered  on,  dripping  with 
rain  until  I  reached  my  friend's  house.     To  my  now 


customary  greeting:  "I  am  running  away.  Will  you 
hide  me?"  she  replied:  "Come  in.  I  have  two 
others."  Thus  did  brave  Russians  in  those  days  risk 
their  lives  to  save  those  of  others.  Under  her  pro- 
tection I  lived  ten  days,  and  in  her  house  I  met  a 
woman,  a  servant  in  one  of  the  Communist  kitchens, 
who  having  access  to  food  and  supplies,  afterwards 
more  than  once  saved  me  from  starvation. 

From  one  such  kindly  haven  to  another  I  fled  in  the 
dead  of  night.  Once  I  was  received  in  the  home  of  an 
English  woman  who  out  of  her  scanty  stores  gave  me 
warm  stockings,  gloves,  and  a  sweater.  Another  day 
or  two  I  spent  in  the  rooms  of  a  dressmaker  whose  hus- 
band was  an  unwilling  soldier  in  the  Red  Army. 
Once  I  ventured  back  to  the  student  hostel,  where  they 
welcomed  me  and  fed  me  well,  one  of  their  number 
having  just  returned  from  the  country  with  a  stock 
of  smuggled  food.  Here  I  had  news  from  my  dear 
mother  from  the  girl  who  had  gone  to  her  on  my  be- 
half, and  had,  after  ten  days'  detention  by  the  Chekha, 
got  back  to  the  hostel.  Some  members  of  the  Chekha, 
she  Informed  me,  looked  forward  to  shooting  me  in- 
stantly when  I  was  caught,  but  others  said  that  it  was 
certain  that  I  was  with  the  White  Army  and  would 
never  be  caught. 

From  the  hostel  I  sought  a  paid  lodging  with  the 
family  of  a  former  member  of  the  orchestra  of  the  Im- 
perial Theater.  These  people,  however,  were  very 
mercenary  and  would  receive  me  only  on  advance  pay- 
ment of  a  large  sum  of  money.  Almost  everything  my 
mother  and  I  had  owned  had  been  sold  long  before, 
but  I  retained  a  pendant  of  aquamarines  and  diamonds, 


a  wedding  present  from  the  Empress,  safely  hidden  in 
the  house   of   a   friend.     This   I   had  sold   for  fifty 
thousand    rubles,    giving    half    the    money    to    the 
musician's  wife  in  return  for  a  few  days'  shelter  in  a 
wretchedly  dirty,  unheated  room.     Here  I  had  to  cut 
my  hair  short  to  get  rid  of  vermin,  and  feeling  unable 
to  endure  the  hole  I  left  it.    Yet  finding  my  next  lodg- 
ings even  worse,  I  returned,  and  here  in  the  midst  of 
discomfort  and  bitter  cold,  I  had  the  joy  of  meeting 
my  mother  and  also  my  aunt  Lashkeroff,  who  brought 
me  the  welcome  news  that  they  thought  they  had  at 
last  found  me  a  permanently  safe  retreat.    It  was  miles 
from  where  I  was  staying,  and  I  had  to  walk  every 
step  of  the  way,  but  when  I  arrived  I  found  my  hostess 
a   lovely   woman  belonging  to    the    Salvation   Army. 
Gladly  would  I  have  stayed  with  her  indefinitely  but 
that  was  impossible  as  I  had  no  passport  and  the  police 
began    to    haunt    the    neighborhood.      She    did    not 
abandon  me  for  all  that,  but  got  me  a  new  shelter  in 
the  home  of  a  good  priest  and  his  wife.     From  here  I 
was  handed  on  from  one  to  another  of  the  priest's 
parishioners  to  whom  he  confided  the  story  of  my  har- 
ried career.     Once  an  Esthonian  told  me  that 
her  sister  had  found  a  Finnish  woman  who,  for  a  good 
price,  was  willing  to  take  fugitives  over  the  frontier, 
and  she   strongly   advised  me  to   attempt   the   flight. 
Some  instinct  forbade,  and  it  turned  out  a  good  instinct, 
for  the  Finnish  woman,  after  taking  the  money,  had 
abandoned  the  Esthonian's  poor  s'ster  in  the  midst  of 
a  wood,  from  which  she  had  to  return,  empty  of  purse 
and  in  deadly  peril  of  arrest. 

Cutting  the  story  of  my  fugitive  existence  short,  I 


finally  found  something  like  a  permanent  abode  in 
the  tiny  and  happily  obscure  woodland  cottage  of  a 
working  engineer,  who  kindly  offered  to  take  me  in 
to  his  bachelor  quarters  a  mile  or  two  outside  of  Petro- 
grad.  Here  I  became  once  more  the  happy  possessor 
of  a  passport,  true  not  in  my  own  name  but  perfectly 
legal  otherwise.  In  Russia  when  a  girl  marries  she 
gives  up  her  passport  to  the  priest,  receiving  a  new 
one  in  the  name  of  her  husband.  My  kind  old  priest 
gave  one  of  these  maiden  passports  to  the  engineer, 
at  the  same  time  reporting  to  the  Commissar  of  his 
neighborhood  that  such  a  passport  had  been  lost.  This 
was  to  prevent  any  possible  trouble  or  inquiry.  The 
Commissar  obligingly  gave  the  priest  a  duplicate, 
signed  and  sealed  by  Bolshevist  authority.  Now  again 
I  was  a  human  being,  for  no  one  in  Russia  can  be  said 
to  have  any  identity  unless  he  is  in  possession  of  a 
passport.  Mine  described  me  as  a  teacher,  and  as  such 
I  was  henceforth  entitled  to  the  Communist  rations. 
For  the  time  being  I  was  less  a  teacher  than  an  un- 
skilled household  servant,  for  naturally  I  wanted  to  do 
everything  possible  to  repay  the  good  engineer  for  af- 
fording me  a  safe  shelter.  I  knew  nothing  whatever 
of  cooking  or  housework,  yet  I  attempted  to  do  both. 
The  engineer  himself  was  absent  all  day,  but  when  he 
returned  at  night  he  carried  in  wood  enough  to  last 
twenty-four  hours,  and  also  water  which  had  to  be 
brought  from  a  great  distance.  Food,  of  course,  was 
very  scarce.  My  mother  and  the  friendly  priest 
brought  all  they  could,  but  even  so  I  would  often  have 
suffered  had  it  not  been  for  my  old  acquaintance,  the 
woman  who  worked  in  the  Communist  kitchen.     And 


here  I  have  to  tell  another  incident  which  may  seem 
impossible  to  some  readers.  One  day  I  was  sitting 
in  the  little  house  in  the  wood,  feeling  as  secure  as  an 
escaped  prisoner  can  feel,  when  I  heard  a  sudden  loud 
knocking  at  the  door.  There  was  no  possible  place 
where  I  could  hide,  but  I  sat  absolutely  still  in  my 
chair,  hardly  breathing  for  fear  of  disclosing  the  fact 
that  the  house  was  not  empty.  Again  came  the  knock- 
ing at  the  door,  this  time  louder  and  more  peremptory 
than  before.  Realizing  that  it  was  useless  to  resist, 
I  arose  and  with  a  prayer  on  my  lips,  I  went  to  the  door 
and  opened  it.  No  one  was  there.  Nothing  was  in 
sight  save  the  wintry  trees  and  the  frozen  path  that  led 
to  the  highway.  But  yes!  There  almost  at  the  end 
of  the  path  stood  the  shivering  figure  of  a  little  girl, 
the  daughter  of  the  woman  in  the  Communist  kitchen. 

"Oh !"  she  cried,  seeing  me  in  the  doorway.  "I 
have  been  looking  everywhere  for  your  house  and  I 
could  not  find  it." 

"But  you  knocked,"  I  said. 

"No,  I  didn't,"  declared  the  child.  "I  haven't  been 
near  the  house.  I  just  this  minute  turned  into  the 
pathway  to  get  out  of  the  wind.  I'm  so  glad  I've 
found  you.    Mother  has  sent  you  something." 

Who  knocked  at  my  door  twice?  The  wind?  It 
never  did  before  or  afterwards.  If  you  believe  in 
Providence,  as  I  do,  you  may  agree  with  me  that  God 
did  not  intend  me  at  that  time  to  starve  in  the  depths 
of  a  desolate  forest.  If  you  prefer  another  explana- 
tion seek  it. 

In  January,  1920,  my  kind  friend  the  engineer  told 
me  reluctantly  that  he  was  about  to  marry  and  that 


the  tiny  room  I  occupied  would  have  to  be  given  up. 
I  had  not  the  remotest  idea  where  I  was  to  go.  Above 
all  things  I  desired  to  embrace  a  religious  life,  but  in 
those  perilous  days  no  convent  in  Petrograd  dared 
receive  me.  The  convents  were  constantly  being 
raided,  and  the  younger  nuns  were  frequently  taken 
out  and  forced  to  work  on  the  streets.  No  religious 
house  could  shelter  a  fugitive  even  though  she  pos- 
sessed a  false  passport.  Again  I  became  a  vagrant, 
spending  a  night  here,  a  day  there,  sleeping  in  any 
refuge  that  opened  to  me.  Towards  the  end  of  March 
I  again  found  a  home  in  the  house  of  a  priest  and  his 
wife  who  were  as  parents  to  me,  and  to  whom  I  owe 
a  lifetime  of  gratitude.  Here  I  found  not  only  safety 
but  work,  that  blessed  anodyne  against  all  trouble. 
My  passport,  as  I  have  said,  described  me  as  a  teacher, 
and  a  teacher  I  now  became,  thanks  to  my  new  friends, 
who  found  me  plenty  of  pupils  among  the  working- 
class  children  of  the  neighborhood.  I  taught  them 
the  simple  elements,  and  to  children  of  the  more  in- 
tellectual classes  languages  and  music.  My  pay  was  In 
food,  but  food  in  the  Bolshevist  paradise  Is  worth 
much  more  than  money,  so  I  was  completely  satisfied. 
By  this  time  my  appearance  was  so  changed  that  I 
lost  all  fear  of  the  police  or  the  Chekha.  One  day 
when  I  was  slowly  walking  the  long  distance  across 
the  river  to  my  favorite  church,  the  resting  place  of 
Father  John,  a  motor  car  stopped  in  my  path  and  I 
recognized  as  its  occupant  the  Chekha  inquisitor  Boze, 
the  man  who  had  several  times  been  my  brutal  jailer. 
"Grazhdanka  (Citizeness),"  he  addressed  me,  "please 
tell  me  where  to  find "   he  named  a  street  and 


number  whither  he  was  bound,  doubtless  on  some  er- 
rand of  terror.  Giving  him  the  direction,  I  moved 
on  as  fast  as  my  crippled  legs  could  carry  me,  but  I 
need  not  have  been  afraid  for  he  did  not  know  me 
at  all. 

So  went  the  year  1920,  my  mother  and  I  and  the 
good  priest's  family  often  discussing  the  possibilities 
of  escape  from  the  increasing  starvation,  death,  and 
terror  which  everywhere  surrounded  us.  People  did 
escape,  we  knew,  but  how  were  we  to  do  it — two 
women,  one  old  and  the  other  lame?  It  seemed  al- 
together impossible.  Besides,  we  had  almost  nothing 
with  which  to  buy  our  way  out  of  the  country.  My 
only  shoes  were  homemade  affairs  of  carpet,  and  I  was 
so  careful  of  them  that  often  when  walking  I  took 
them  off  and  carried  them  in  my  hands  to  preserve 
them.  Another  thing,  beset  with  dangers  as  we  were 
in  Russia  we  were  no  longer  hungry,  because  I  had  an 
increasing  number  of  pupils,  and  each  one  meant  a 
tiny  portion  of  food  and  firewood  for  my  mother,  my 
friends,  and  myself.  But  here  is  a  strange  and  a  uni- 
versally human  thing.  Food  and  warmth  do  not  bring 
content  to  prisoners,  they  create  courage,  and  when 
one  day  in  late  October  we  received  a  letter  from  my 
sister,  safe  in  a  near-by  country  which  I  may  not  name, 
the  flame  of  adventure  blazed  up  in  the  soul  of  my 
brave  little  mother  and  in  my  own  heart.  My  sister 
suggested  the  possibility  of  our  getting  out  by  one  of 
the  ways  that  persist  in  flourishing  in  spite  of  Bol- 
shevism and  the  Chekha,  and  she  offered  us,  if  we  suc- 
ceeded in  escaping,  the  shelter  of  her  own  home.  I 
cannot  reveal  any  detail  of  those  secret  ways  of  es- 


cape,  because  they  still  exist,  and  must  not  in  any 
way  be  placed  in  jeopardy.  Enough  it  is  to  say  that 
Petrograd  is  separated  from  Finland  by  only  a  few 
versts  of  land,  carefully  guarded,  and  by  a  narrow 
arm  of  the  Baltic  Sea  which  cannot  be  quite  as  suc- 
cessfully guarded.  In  winter  this  water  freezes,  not 
as  unsalted  water  freezes,  smooth  and  thick,  and  safe 
for  passage,  but  in  rough  and  treacherous  hummocks 
of  mixed  ice  and  snow,  with  unexpected  gaps  of  half- 
frozen  water  opening  here  and  there  between  the  ice 
masses.  Still,  the  icy  Baltic  does  at  times  admit  of 
sledge  passage,  and  there  are  men  who  make  a  business 
of  taking  over — for  a  price  far  beyond  what  most 
Russians  can  afford — refugees  who  have  friends  wait- 
ing for  them  in  Finland  or  in  countries  to  the  west 
and  south.  Sometimes  Red  soldiers  have  to  be  bribed, 
and  often  they  sell  out  the  people  whose  money  they 
accept.  Sometimes  also  the  men  who  contract  to  take 
refugees  over  the  ice  betray  their  passengers  to  the 
Bolshevik  guards.  Any  way  you  look  at  it,  escape 
from  Bolshevik  Russia  is  about  as  perilous  as  going  un- 
armed into  a  tiger's  cage.  Yet  people  dare  it,  and  we 

It  was  about  the  first  of  December  in  our  calendar, 
in  the  year  1920,  when  we  received  a  second  smuggled 
letter  from  my  sister:  "Be  ready  whenever  we  send 
for  you."  For  that  promised  summons  we  waited  in 
desperate  suspense  until  two  days  after  Christmas. 
Then  to  my  mother's  lodging  came  a  fisherman  and  his 
little  boy  with  the  whispered  news  that  we  were  to  go 
with  them  on  the  day  following.  My  mother  found 
means  of  sending  the  news  to  our  friend  the  priest, 


and  he  brought  it  to  me.     "Tomorrow  at  four  o'clock 
you  go  abroad." 

The  next  day  at  the  appointed  hour  my  mother  and 
I,  two  shivering  creatures  facing  death,  but  ready, 
met  at  a  small  railway  station  leading  along  the  Baltic 
shores.  The  fisherman's  son  was  also  at  the  station, 
but  obeying  instructions,  we  did  not  notice  him  but 
simply  followed  wherever  he  led.  Our  train  journey 
was  short,  and  at  five  o'clock,  pitch  dark  in  the  Rus- 
sian winter,  we  alighted  at  a  poor  village,  following 
the  boy  who  carried  on  his  back  a  bag  of  potatoes. 
Alas !  In  the  darkness  and  confusion  we  lost  him,  and 
stood  in  the  icy  cold  like  lost  souls,  not  knowing  where 
to  turn.  Suddenly  out  of  the  shadows  a  peasant  woman 
approached  us.  "Are  you  looking  for  a  boy  with  a 
bag  of  potatoes?"  she  said  in  a  low  voice,  and  to 
our  frightened  assent  she  murmured:  "Follow  me." 
We  followed,  although,  for  all  we  knew,  it  was  to  a 
Chekha  prison.  Anybody  in  Russia  may  be  Chekha, 
the  friend  who  invites  you  to  dinner,  the  man  who 
buys  your  last  jewel,  the  woman  who  offers  to  guide 
you  over  an  unknown  road.  You  can  trust  no  one, 
consequently,  when  you  must,  you  trust  anyone.  We 
followed  the  peasant  woman  into  a  dim  hut,  and  there 
we  found  two  fishermen  who  assured  us  that  they 
were  ready  that  night  to  take  us  across  the  frozen 
Baltic  to  a  village  on  the  Finnish  side.  Their  horses 
and  sledges,  they  told  us,  were  safely  hidden,  but  they 
would  be  ready  to  take  us  and  three  other  fugitives, 
a  lady,  a  child,  and  a  maid,  as  soon  as  we  could  safely 
venture  to  leave  the  village.  As  luck  would  have  it 
there  was  a  festival  and  a  dance  going  on  that  night, 


and  we  had  to  sit  in  that  stifling  hut  in  complete  silence 
until  two  o'clock.  Also  we  had  to  pay  for  our  shelter 
and  escape  one  hundred  thousand  rubles,  which  my 
mother  had  secured  by  selling  her  last  treasure,  a  pearl 

When  the  last  peasant  had  gone  to  bed  and  silence 
wrapped  the  village,  we  stole  out  through  the  mud  and 
the  snow,  and  got  into  the  rough  sledge.  Hardly  had 
we  struck  the  rough  ice  of  the  Baltic  when  the  sledge 
overturned,  waking  the  child  who,  silent  before,  now 
began  to  cry  and  to  beg  to  go  home.  The  little  thing 
spoke  only  French  and  I  can  still  hear  him  repeating 
over  and  over  again  in  a  high  baby  voice  which  he 
did  not  know  imperiled  the  lives  of  all  of  us  :  "Maman, 
Maman,  a  la  maison,  a  la  maison."  For  six  hours 
we  drove  thus,  slowly  and  cautiously  over  the  rotten 
ice,  one  of  the  men  driving,  and  the  other  running 
ahead  with  a  long  pole  testing  the  ice  for  a  safe  path- 
way. Often  we  stopped  to  listen  for  possible  sentinels, 
and  once  in  the  neighborhood  of  Kronstadt  we  had 
such  a  fright  that  I  wonder  the  men  dared  go  farther. 
Plainly  to  our  ears  came  the  grinding  of  machinery,  and 
we  knew  that  where  there  was  machinery  there  were 
men.  We  stopped  long  and  listened,  until  our  driver 
suddenly  remembered  that  the  noise  was  that  of  an  ice 
breaker  several  miles  out  of  our  highway.  By  this  time 
I  was  so  stiff  and  drowsy  with  cold,  so  nearly  frozen, 
in  fact,  that  I  hardly  cared  what  happened  to  us. 
Seeing  my  wretched  state,  one  of  the  men  took  off 
an  extra  pair  of  woolen  socks  he  wore  and  slipped  them 
on  my  feet.  The  unknown  lady  who  accompanied  us 
also  spared  me  a  warm  wrap,  and  by  rubbing  and  hold- 


ing  me  close  to  their  bodies  they  kept  me  alive.  At 
eight  o'clock  of  a  pale  winter  morning  they  lifted  me 
out  of  the  sledge  and  with  the  others  I  stood  trembling 
on  the  snowy  shores  of  Finland. 

"Now  you  are  out  of  Sovdepia"  (Soviet  land),  said 
the  fishermen  cheerfully,  "but  we  are  not  safe  yet,  for 
the  Finnish  police  may  catch  us  and  send  us  back." 
Hurriedly  we  climbed  the  hill  to  the  cottage  of  one  of 
the  smugglers.  Here  we  met  his  wife,  who,  gray  with 
fear,  came  out  to  meet  her  husband  after  his  night  of 
peril  on  the  ice.  The  woman  gave  us  hot  coffee, 
bread,  and  cheese,  but  she  would  net  keep  us  long  in  her 
house.  We  knew  that  we  must  report  as  soon  as  pos- 
sible at  the  quarantine  station,  and  we  knew,  besides, 
that  the  sorely  tried  Finnish  authorities  would  not  be 
any  too  glad  to  see  us  coming.  Do  not  blame  the 
Finns  for  this.  Every  Russian  refugee  is  a  burden  on 
their  slender  resources,  and  too  often  a  pretended 
refugee  is  merely  a  Bolshevik  agent  sent  to  stir  up 
trouble  among  disaffected  workmen.  However,  on 
this  occasion  the  Finns  received  our  wretched  group 
with  infinite  kindness,  and  made  us  comfortable  during 
the  required  period  we  spent  in  the  quarantine  station. 
Then  we  went  to  our  separate  destinations,  all  of  us  to 
poverty,  obscurity,  homesickness,  to  that  sunless  clime 
which  waits  the  exile  wherever  he  may  go.  In  the 
country  where  my  mother  and  I  finally  arrived  we 
found  my  sister,  happier  than  ourselves,  because  she 
left  Russia  before  the  great  horror  began,  thus  saving 
part  of  her  fortune.  My  sister  gave  us  food,  clothing, 
a  lodging.  Except  for  her  bounty  we  had  lost  every- 
thing  we    ever    owned,    home,    friends,    possessions, 


country,  for  Russians  now  have  no  country,  no  flag, 
no  place  in  the  wide  world.  The  best  any  of  us  can 
hope  for  is  an  obscure  corner  in  some  foreign  land 
where  we  can  earn  enough  to  buy  our  daily  bread,  and 
a  quiet  place  in  which  to  pray  every  day  of  our  lives: 
"God  save  Russia." 

I  am  told,  although  I  can  hardly  believe  It,  that  in 
other  lands,  even  in  free  America,  there  are  beings  so 
deluded  that  they  wish  to  bring  about  revolution  and 
Bolshevism.  I  do  not  wish  for  any  of  them  the  long 
nightmare  of  suffering  that  I,  one  of  millions,  have 
suffered  under  revolution  and  Bolshevism.  I  pray 
only  that  there  may  be  revealed  to  them  the  fate  of 
the  betrayed  who  have  died  and  are  dying  under  the 
criminal  administration  of  the  Provisional  Government 
and,  later,  of  Lenine  and  his  fanatical  followers.  If 
they  can  be  made  to  know  only  in  part  what  my  poor, 
ravished  country  is  today,  they  will  forget  their  de- 
lusions and  pray  with  the  exiles:     "God  save  Russia." 


The  Truth  Concerning  the  Russian  Imperial  Family 

Statement  of  Vladimir  Michailovitch  Roudneff,  appointed  by  Minister 
of  Justice  Kerensky  Special  High  Commissioner  for  Revision  and 
Investigation  of  the  actions  of  Ministers  and  other  High  Per- 
sonages of  the  Imperial  Government. 

"I  was  acting  as  Procureur  of  the  Court  of  Assizes  of 
Ekaterinoslav  when  I  received  orders  from  Minister  of  Justice 
Kerensky  to  become  a  member  of  the  High  Commission  of 
Inquiry  charged  with  an  examination  of  the  acts  and  abuses  of 
ministers  and  other  high  personages  of  the  former  Government. 
While  working  with  this  Commission  in  Petrograd  I  was  espe- 
cially assigned  to  examination  of  sources  of  secret  influences  at 
Court  which  were  known  as  Dark  Forces.  My  work  with  the 
Commission  lasted  until  August,  191 7,  when  I  was  forced  to 
leave  because  the  President,  Mourvavieff,  insisted  upon  my 
making  reports  of  a  plainly  prejudicial  character. 

"As  an  Attorney  General  {juge  (T instruction)  I  had  access  to 
all  documents,  and  the  right  to  be  present  at  the  examination 
of  all  witnesses,  with  the  view  of  establishing  impartially  the 
part  played  by  persons  accused  by  society  and  the  public  press  of 
exerting  influence  on  foreign  and  domestic  politics.  I  was 
assigned  to  read  all  the  papers  and  letters  found  in  the  Winter 
Palace,  the  palace  at  Tsarskoe  Selo,  and  at  Peterhof,  especially 
the  personal  correspondence  of  the  Emperor  and  Empress,  cer- 
tain of  the  Grand  Dukes,  and  also  the  correspondence  seized 
in  the  course  of  examination  of  the  house  of  Archbishop 
Varnava,  also  of  Countess  S.  S.  Ignatieff,  Dr.  BadmaefF, 
Voyeikoff,    and   Anna   Viroubova,    and    also   to   the   relations 



existing  between  the  Imperial  family  and  the  German  Imperial 
family.  Being  aware  of  the  importance  of  my  inquiry  in 
throwing  light  on  historical  events  preceding  and  following  the 
Revolution,  I  made  copies  of  all  documents  and  letters,  dossiers, 
and  statements  of  witnesses.  In  leaving  Petrograd  I  took  with 
me  all  these  copies,  concealing  them  in  my  home  in  Ekaterino- 
slav,  but  it  is  probable  that  these  documents  were  destroyed 
when  the  Bolsheviki  raided  my  house.  If  by  happy  chance  I 
find  that  they  still  exist  I  shall  certainly  publish  them  in  full, 
without  any  comments  of  my  own. 

"In  the  meantime  I  consider  it  my  duty  to  write  a  short 
account  of  the  principal  persons  who  were  accused  of  being 
Dark  Forces.  I  must,  however,  warn  the  reader  that  as  I  write 
from  memory  some  details  may  escape  my  mind.  When  I  went 
to  Petrograd  to  begin  my  work  with  the  High  Commission  I 
admit  that  I  was  influenced  by  all  the  pamphlets  and  newspaper 
articles  on  the  subject  of  the  Rasputine  influence,  and  other 
rumors  and  gossip,  and  I  began  my  work  under  the  domination 
of  preconceived  prejudices.  But  careful  and  impartial  investi- 
gation soon  forced  me  to  the  opinion  that  these  rumors  and 
newspaper  accounts  were  based  on  slender  foundations. 

"The  most  interesting  person  charged  with  exercising  a 
malign  influence  on  political  affairs  was  Gregory  Rasputine, 
therefore  this  person  was  the  central  figure  of  my  investigations. 
The  account  of  the  surveillance  under  which  he  lived,  up  to  the 
very  day  of  his  death,  is  of  great  importance.  This  surveillance 
was  exercised  by  the  ordinary  as  well  as  the  secret  police,  special 
agents  noting  all  his  goings  and  comings,  some  of  these  agents 
being  disguised  as  policemen  or  as  servants.  Everything  con- 
cerning the  movements  of  Rasputine  was  carefully  recorded 
every  day.  If  he  left  his  house,  even  for  an  hour  or  two,  the 
moment  of  his  departure  and  his  return  was  noted,  and  also 
every  person  he  met  on  the  road. 

"The  secret  agents  kept  strict  account  of  all  people  he  met 


and  of  all  who  visited  him.  In  cases  where  the  names  of  these 
persons  were  not  known  their  full  descriptions  were  taken. 
After  having  read  all  papers  and  examined  many  witnesses  I 
reached  the  conclusion  that  Rasputine  was  a  person  more  com- 
plex and  less  comprehensible  than  had  been  previously  repre- 
sented. In  studying  his  personality  I  naturally  paid  attention 
to  the  chronological  order  of  circumstances  which  finally 
opened  to  the  man  the  doors  of  the  Tsar's  palace,  and  I  dis- 
covered that  the  first  preliminary  was  his  acquaintance  with  the 
well  known,  pious,  and  learned  churchmen  Bishops  Theofan 
and  Hermogen.  I  noted  also  that  it  was  afterwards  due  to  the 
influence  of  Rasputine  that  these  two  great  pillars  of  the 
Orthodox  Church  fell  into  disfavor.  He  was  the  cause  of  the 
relegation  of  Hermogen  to  the  Monastery  of  Saratoff,  and  of 
the  disgrace  (demotion)  of  Theofan,  after  these  two  arch- 
bishops, discovering  Rasputine's  low  instincts,  openly  turned 
against  him.  All  the  evidence  pointed  to  the  conclusion  that  in 
the  inner  life  of  Rasputine,  a  simple  peasant  of  the  Government 
of  Tobolsk,  there  occurred  suddenly  a  complete  change  trans- 
forming him  and  turning  him  toward  Christ.  Only  in  this 
way  can  I  explain  to  myself  his  intimacy  with  these  two  re- 
markable bishops.  This  hypothesis  is  moreover  confirmed  by 
Rasputine's  storj'  of  his  journey  to  the  Holy  Land.  This  book 
is  marked  by  extreme  naivete,  simplicity,  and  sincerity.  On  the 
recommendation  of  the  exalted  churchmen  mentioned  Rasputin^ 
was  received  by  the  Grand  Duchesses  Anastasie  Nicholaevna 
and  Melitza  Nicholaevna,  and  it  was  through  them  that  he 
made  the  acquaintance  of  Mme.  Viroubova,  nee  Tanieff,  then 
maid  of  honor.  He  made  a  deep  impression  on  this  very  reli- 
giously inclined  woman,  and  gained  at  last  an  entry  to  the 
Imperial  Palace.  It  was  then  that  awoke  in  him  his  worst 
instincts,  hitherto  repressed,  and  it  was  then  that  he  began 
adroitly  to  exploit  the  religious  fervor  possessed  by  very  high 
personages.     It  must  be  admitted  that  he  played  his  part  with 


astonishing  cleverness.  Correspondence  bearing  on  the  subject 
and  the  testimony  of  various  witnesses  prove  that  Rasputine 
refused  all  subsidies,  gratuities,  and  even  honors  which  were 
freely  offered  him  by  their  Majesties,  indicating  thus  his  in- 
tegrity, his  disinterestedness,  and  his  profound  devotion  to  the 
Throne,  insisting  that  he  was  an  intercessor  for  the  Imperial 
family  before  God's  throne.  He  alleged  that  everyone  envied 
him  his  position,  that  he  was  surrounded  by  intriguers  and 
slanderers,  and  that  therefore  evil  reports  concerning  him  were 
unworthy  of  belief.  The  only  favor  he  accepted  was  the  rental 
of  his  lodgings,  paid  by  the  personal  Chancellor  of  his  Majesty. 
He  also  accepted  presents  made  by  the  hands  of  the  Imperial 
family,  such  as  shirts,  waist-bands,  etc. 

"Rasputine  had  free  entry  to  the  apartments  of  the  Emperor, 
saying  prayers,  addressing  the  Emperor  and  Empress  with  the 
familiar  'thou,'  and  greeting  them  in  the  Siberian  peasant 
manner  (with  a  kiss).  It  is  known  that  he  warned  the  Em- 
peror, 'My  death  shall  be  thine  also,'  and  that  at  Court  he  was 
regarded  as  a  man  gifted  with  the  power  of  forecasting  events. 
His  predictions  were  couched  in  mysterious  phrases  like  those 
of  the  Pythons  of  antiquity. 

"Rasputine's  income  was  derived  from  numerous  persons 
who  desired  positions  and  money,  and  used  Rasputine  as  their 
intermediary  with  the  Emperor.  Rasputine  asked  favors  for 
his  clients,  promising,  if  these  were  granted,  all  kinds  of  bless- 
ings to  the  Imperial  family  and  to  Russia. 

"To  this  must  be  added  that  Rasputine  possessed  within  him- 
self a  strange  power  by  which  he  was  able  to  exercise  hypnotic 
suggestion.  I  have  been  able  to  establish  the  fact  that  he  cured 
by  hypnotism  the  disease  of  St.  Vitus  Dance  which  afflicted  the 
son  of  one  of  his  friends,  Simanovitch.  The  young  man  was  a 
student  in  the  College  of  Commerce,  and  his  malady  completely 
disappeared  after  two  seances  in  which  Rasputine  plunged  the 
patient  into  hypnotic  slumbers. 


"Another  case  establishing  the  hypnotic  power  of  Rasputine 
may  be  noted.  During  the  winter  of  19 14-15  he  was  called  to 
the  house  of  the  superintendent  of  railways  in  Tsarskoe  Selo 
where  lay,  entirely  unconscious,  Anna  Alexandrovna  Viroubova, 
who  had  been  seriously  injured  in  a  railroad  accident.  She 
was  suffering  from  broken  legs  and  a  fracture  of  the  skull. 
Their  Majesties  were  in  the  room  when  Rasputine  arrived,  and 
he,  simply  raising  his  arms,  said  to  the  unconscious  woman : 
'Anushka,  open  your  eyes,'  which  she  instantly  did,  looking  in- 
telligently around  her.  This  naturally  made  a  deep  impression 
on  everyone  present,  including  their  Majesties,  and  it  served  to 
increase  the  prestige  of  Rasputine.  Although  Rasputine  could 
barely  read  and  write,  he  was  far  from  being  an  inferior  person. 
He  .had  a  keen  and  observant  intellect,  and  a  rare  faculty  of 
reading  the  character  of  any  person  with  whom  he  came  in 
contact.  The  rudeness  and  exaggerated  simplicity  of  his  bear- 
ing, which  lent  him  the  appearance  of  a  common  peasant,  served 
to  remind  observers  of  his  humble  origin  and  his  lack  of  culture. 

"As  so  much  was  bruited  in  the  public  press  about  the  im- 
morality of  Rasputine,  the  closest  attention  was  given  to  this 
phase  of  his  question.  From  the  reports  of  the  secret  police  it 
was  proved  that  his  love  affairs  consisted  solely  in  night  orgies 
with  music-hall  singers  and  an  occasional  petitioner.  It  is  on 
record  that  when  he  was  drunk  he  sometimes  hinted  of  inti- 
macies in  higher  circles,  especially  in  those  circles  through  which 
he  had  risen  to  power,  but  of  his  relations  with  women  of  high 
society  nothing  was  established,  either  by  police  records  or  by 
information  acquired  by  the  commission.  In  the  papers  of  the 
Bishop  Varnava  was  found  a  telegram  from  Rasputine  as  fol- 
lows: 'My  dear,  I  cannot  come,  my  silly  women  are  shedding 
tears  and  won't  let  me  go.'  As  for  the  accusation  that  in 
Siberia  Rasputine  was  accustomed  to  bathe  in  company  with 
women,  and  that  he  was  affiliated  with  the  'Khlysty'  sect,  the 
Extraordinary'  Commission   referred  these  charges  to  Gramo- 


glassoff,  professor  in  the  Ecclesiastical  Academy  (of  Moscow), 
who  after  examination  of  all  the  evidence,  testified  that  among 
peasants  of  many  parts  of  Siberia  the  common  bath  was  a  usual 
custom,  and  that  he  found  no  evidence  in  the  writings  or  preach- 
ings of  Rasputine  of  any  affiliation  with  the  'Khlysty'  doctrines. 

"Rasputine  was  a  man  of  large  heart.  He  kept  open  house, 
and  his  lodgings  were  always  crowded  with  a  curiously  mixed 
company  living  at  his  expense.  To  acquire  the  aureole  of  a 
benefactor,  to  follow  the  precepts  of  the  Gospels  according  to 
which  the  generous  hand  is  always  filled,  Rasputine  took  the 
money  offered  by  his  petitioners,  but  he  gave  generously  to  the 
poor  and  to  people  of  the  lower  classes  who  begged  his  assist- 
ance. Thus  he  built  up  a  reputation  of  being  at  once  a  generous 
and  a  disinterested  man.  Besides  these  alms  Rasputine  spent 
large  sums  in  restaurants,  cafes,  music  halls,  and  in  the  streets, 
so  that  when  he  died  he  left  practically  nothing.  The  investi- 
gation disclosed  an  immense  amount  of  evidence  concerning  the 
petitions  carried  by  Rasputine  to  Court,  but  all  these,  as  has 
been  said,  referred  merely  to  applications  for  positions,  favors, 
railway  concessions,  and  the  like.  Notwithstanding  his  great 
influence  at  Court  not  a  single  indication  of  Rasputine's  politi- 
cal activity  was  disclosed. 

"Many  proofs  of  his  influence  were  found  in  the  papers  of 
General  Voyeikoff,  Commandant  of  the  Palace,  as  for  example 
the  following:  'My  dear.  Arrange  this  affair.  Gregory.'  These 
letters  were  annoted  by  Voyeikoff,  with  the  names  and  ad- 
dresses of  the  petitioners,  the  nature  of  their  demands,  the 
results  of  their  applications,  and  the  date  of  the  replies.  Many 
letters  of  the  same  kind  were  found  among  the  papers  of  Presi- 
dent of  the  Council  of  Ministers,  Sturmer,  and  of  other  high 
personages.  All  the  letters  concerned  themselves  exclusively 
with  favors  and  protection  for  the  people  in  whom  Rasputine 
interested  himself.  He  had  special  names  for  various  persons 
with  whom  he  was  in  frequent  contact.     Sturmer  was  called 


'The  Old  Man,'  Archbishop  Varnava  'Butterfly,'  the  Emperor 
'Papa,'  and  the  Empress  'Mama.'  The  nickname  of  Varnava, 
'Butterfly,'  was  found  in  a  letter  to  Mme.  Viroubova. 

"The  inquir}'  into  the  influence  of  Rasputine  on  the  Imperial 
family  was  intensive,  but  it  was  definitely  established  that  that 
influence  had  its  source  in  the  profound  religious  sentiments  of 
their  Majesties,  joined  to  their  conviction  that  Rasputine  was  a 
saint,  and  was  the  sole  intermediary  between  God  and  the 
Emperor,  as  well  as  of  all  Russia.  The  Imperial  family  believed 
that  they  saw  proofs  of  his  sanctity  in  his  psychic  power  over 
certain  persons  of  the  Court,  such  as  bringing  back  to  life  and 
consciousness  the  desperately  injured  Mme.  Viroubova,  whose 
case  has  been  described ;  also  in  his  undoubtedly  benign  influence 
on  the  health  of  the  heir,  and  on  a  whole  series  of  fulfilled 
forecasting  of  events. 

"It  is  evident  that  sly  and  unscrupulous  people  did  every- 
thing in  their  power  to  profit  by  Rasputine's  influence  on  the 
Imperial  family,  thus  waking  up  in  the  man  his  worst  instincts. 
This  is  particularly  true  of  the  former  Minister  of  the  Interior, 
A.  N.  Khvostof?  and  of  Belezky,  Director  of  the  Police  De- 
partment. To  consolidate  their  position  at  Court  they  came  to 
an  understanding  with  Rasputine  whereby  they  agreed  to  pay 
him,  out  of  the  private  funds  of  the  Police  Department,  the 
sum  of  three  thousand  rubles  monthly,  besides  other  sums, 
that  he  might  require,  provided  he  helped  them  to  place  candi- 
dates agreeable  to  them.  Rasputine  accepted  these  conditions, 
and  for  three  months  filled  his  engagements,  but  finding  that 
the  arrangement  was  not  advantageous  to  himself,  returned  to 
his  independent  manner  of  work.  KhvostofiF,  fearing  that 
Rasputine  would  betray  him,  began  openly  to  oppose  him.  He 
knew  that  he  stood  well  with  the  Imperial  family,  and  he 
counted  also  on  the  cooperation  of  the  Duma,  of  which  he  was 
a  member,  and  in  which  Rasputine  was  cordially  hated.  This 
put  Belezky  in  a  difficult  position,  because  he  doubted  Khvos- 


toff's  power  at  Court,  and  he  had  no  doubt  at  all  concerning 
Rasputine's  power.  Belezky  decided  therefore  to  betray  his 
chief,  and  range  himself  on  the  side  of  Rasputine.  His  object 
was,  to  use  the  words  of  Rasputine  himself,  to  throw  down 
the  Khvostoff  ministry.  The  struggle  between  these  two  offi- 
cials culminated  in  the  famous  plot  against  the  life  of  Raspu- 
tine, which  created  such  a  sensation  in  the  press  during  the 
year  1916.  The  plot  was  laid  by  Belezky  in  the  following 
manner.  An  engineer  named  Heine,  owner  of  several  private 
gambling  houses  in  Petrograd,  was  hired  to  go  to  Christiania 
to  meet  the  unfrocked  monk  Illiador  Troufanoff,  a  former 
friend  of  Rasputine.  The  result  of  this  journey  was  a  series 
of  telegrams  addressed  to  Heine  and  signed  by  Illiador  covertly 
alluding  to  a  conspiracy  against  the  life  of  Rasputine.  In  one  of 
these  telegrams  it  was  stated  that  the  forty  men  engaged  in 
the  conspiracy  were  dissatisfied  to  wait  longer,  and  it  was  nec- 
essary to  send  them  immediately  thirty  thousand  rubles.  These 
telegrams,  coming  in  war  time  from  a  neutral  country,  were 
delivered  to  the  police,  only  after  having  been  read  being  passed 
on  to  the  person  addressed.  Finally,  after  receiving  all  the 
telegrams,  Heine  presented  himself  to  Rasputine  in  the  guise 
of  a  repentant  sinner,  giving  him  full  details  of  the  plot,  in 
which  he  owned  himself  concerned,  but  which  he  vowed  Khvos- 
toff to  be  the  leading  spirit.  The  result  was  that  Rasputine 
took  the  story  to  the  Imperial  family,  and  the  dismissal  of 
Khvostoff  quickly  followed.  It  is  an  interesting  fact  that 
Heine's  telegrams  from  Christiania  mentioned  a  number  of 
names  of  persons  living  in  Tsaritzine,  former  friends  of  Illiador, 
who  were  supposed  to  be  in  Christiania  busy  with  the  details 
of  the  plot.  The  evidence  given  at  the  inquiry  proved  beyond 
doubt  that  the  persons  concerned  had  never  left  their  homes. 
'Tersonally  the  official  Khvostoff  was  highly  esteemed  by  both 
the  Emperor  and  the  Empress,  they  believing  him  to  be  sincerely 
religious,  and  devoted  to  the  interests  of  the  Imperial  family 


and  to  Russia,  but  the  evidence  shows  that  he  was  really  de- 
voted only  to  his  personal  interests.  He  once  invited  the  head 
of  the  Gendarmerie,  General  Komissaroff,  to  go  with  him  in 
civilian  dress,  and  to  introduce  Rasputine  to  the  Metropolitan 
Pitirim.  They  were  received  by  a  novice  who  went  to  the 
Metropolitan's  study  to  announce  them.  When  the  Metropoli- 
tan appeared  Rasputine  introduced  General  Komissaroff,  and 
disagreeable  as  it  was  to  see  a  gendarme  officer  in  his  house,  his 
Eminence  invited  the  men  to  follow  him  into  his  study.  There 
they  discovered  Khvostoff  sitting  on  a  sofa.  Seeing  Rasputine 
Khvostoff  laughed  rather  nervously,  but  continued  his  conver- 
sation with  the  Metropolitan,  then,  rising  to  take  his  departure, 
asked  General  Komissaroff  to  drive  home  with  him.  Komissa- 
roff found  himself  in  an  awkward  position,  and  when  Khvostoff 
suddenly  asked  him  if  he  understood  the  affair  he  answered  in 
the  negative.  'Well,'  said  Khvostoff,  'it  is  now  clear  in  what 
relation  Pitirim  stands  with  Rasputine.  When  you  were  an- 
nounced he  was  just  telling  me  that  he  had  nothing  in  common 
with  Rasputine,  and  that  the  person  who  was  waiting  to  see  him 
was  an  eminent  Georgian.  'Termit  me,"  he  said,  "to  leave  you 
for  a  few  minutes."  Now  we  see  who  the  "eminent  Georgian" 
really  was.'     This  was  testified  to  by  Komissaroff  himself. 

"Of  all  the  ministers  Khvostoff  was  the  closest  to  Rasputine. 
Rumors  of  the  intimate  relations  between  Stunner  and  Raspu- 
tine were  found  to  be  without  foundation.  There  was  between 
them,  it  is  true,  a  friendship.  Sturmer  understood  Rasputine's 
great  influence,  and  did  what  he  could  to  advance  the  interests 
of  his  clients.  He  sent  fruit,  wine,  and  delicacies  to  Rasputine, 
but  there  is  no  evidence  that  he  allowed  him  to  influence  po- 
litical affairs.  The  relations  between  Rasputine  and  Proto- 
popoff,  who,  for  some  reason,  Rasputine  called  'Kalinine'  were 
no  more  intimate,  although  Protopopoff  liked  Rasputine,  and  it 
is  certain  that  Rasputine  defended  Protopopoff  when  the  posi- 
tion of  the  latter  was  menaced.    This  was  done  usually  in  the 


absence  of  the  Sovereigns,  Rasputine  addressing  himself  to  the 
Empress,  at  the  same  time  uttering  predictions. 

"Protopopoff  distinguished  himself  by  an  extraordinary  lack 
of  will  power,   representing  at  different  times  quite  opposing 
organizations.     He  was  even  at  one  time  elected  vice-president 
of  the  Duma.    Protopopoff  has  publicly  been  accused  of  initiat- 
ing and  carrying  out  an  attempt  to  put  down  the  popular  up- 
rising of  the  first  days  of  the  Revolution.     He  is  accused  of 
having  placed  machine  guns  on  the  roofs  of  houses  to  shoot  down 
the  armed  insurgents.    However,  the  juge  d' instruction  Jousvik- 
Kompaneitz,   after   having   interrogated   many   witnesses,    and 
examining  all  the  machine  guns  found  in  the  streets  of  Petro- 
grad  in  the  first  days  of  the  Revolution,  has  testified  that  all 
the  machine  guns  belonged  to  different  regiments,  and  none, 
not  even  those   found   on   the   roofs  of  houses,   to   the  police. 
Generally  speaking,  there  were  no  machine  guns  on  roofs,  ex- 
cept those  placed  there  at  the  beginning  of  the  war  as  a  defense 
against  airplane  attacks.     It  must  be  said  that  during  the  criti- 
cal days  of   February,    191 7,   Protopopoff  showed   a  complete 
incapacity,   and   from   the  legal  point  of  view,   his  absolutely 
criminal  weakness.    Among  his  papers  were  found  intimate  and 
even   affectionate  letters   from   Rasputine,   but   not   one  letter 
contained  anything  more  than  recommendations  in  favor  of  his 
proteges.    Nor  in  the  papers  of  any  other  high  personages  were 
found  letters  of  different  tenor  signed  by  Rasputine.    Both  press 
and  public  seem  to  have  been  persuaded  that  Rasputine  was  very 
intimate   with   two   political   adventurers,    Dr.    Badmaeff   and 
Prince  Andronnikoff,  and  that  through  him  these  men  were 
able  to  exercise  wide  political  influence.     Evidence  has  estab- 
lished, however,  that  these  rumors  were  without  any  founda- 
tion.    The  two  adventurers  were,  in  fact,  nothing  more  than 
the  hangers-on  of  Rasputine,  glad  to  gather  up  the  crumbs  from 
his  table,  and  falsely  representing  to  their  clients  that  they  had 
influence  over  Rasputine,  and  through  him  influence  at  Court." 


(Here  follows  at  some  length  the  result  of  the  High  Com- 
mission's inquirj'  into  the  activities  of  Dr.  Badmaeff  and  Prince 
Andronnikoff,  but  as  they  have  nothing  whatever  to  do  with 
this  history  they  are  omitted.    A.  V.) 

"Badmaeff  was  the  physician  of  Minister  Protopopoff,  but  the 
Imperial  family  had  no  confidence  in  his  methods — any  more 
than  had  Rasputine — and  in  an  examination  of  the  servants  of 
the  Imperial  household,  it  was  demonstrated  clearly  that  the 
Thibetan  doctor  had  never  been  called  in  his  professional 
capacity  to  the  apartments  of  the  Emperor's  children. 

"General  Voyeikoff,  Commandant  of  the  Palace,  I  examined 
many  times  in  the  Fortress  of  Petropavlosk  where  he  was 
imprisoned.  He  did  not  play  a  vtry  powerful  role  at  Court, 
but  according  to  letters  from  his  wife,  daughter  of  Court 
Minister  Fredericks,  covering  the  years  1914-15,  and  found  in 
his  house,  he  was  esteemed  by  the  Imperial  family  as  a  man 
devoted  to  the  throne,  an  impression  which  I,  after  several 
interviews  with  him,  did  not  share.  From  letters  of  Voyeikoff 
to  his  wife  it  is  plain  that  he  was  hostile  to  Rasputine.  In  cer- 
tain of  the  letters  he  calls  Rasputine  the  evil  genius  of  the 
Imperial  family  and  of  Russia,  and  he  believed  that  his  inti- 
macy at  Court  discredited  the  throne  and  gave  strength  to 
humors  and  opinions  and  slanderous  stories  by  which  the  anti- 
Government  party  profited.  Nevertheless  he  took  full  advan- 
tage of  the  influence  of  Rasputine.  He  had  not  the  courage 
to  reject  his  petitions,  which  is  proved  by  the  annotations  in  his 
handwriting  on  the  letters  of  Rasputine." 

(High  Commissioner  Roudneff  adds  that,  in  his  opinion, 
Voyeikoff  thought  badly  of  Rasputine,  and  that  his  wife  hated 
the  man,  but  that  neither  of  them  communicated  their  views 
to  the  Imperial  family.    A.  V.) 

"Having  heard  a  great  deal  of  the  exceptional  influence  at 
Court  of  Mme.  Viroubova,  and  of  her  relations  with  Rasputine, 
and   having  read   and  believed  what  was  said   about   her   in 


society  and  the  press,  I  must  admit  that  when  I  went  to  examine 
her  in  the  Fortress  of  Petropavlosk  I  was  frankly  prejudiced 
against  her.  This  hostility  remained  with  me  up  to  the  mo- 
ment of  her  entrance  into  the  office  of  the  Fortress  under  the 
escort  of  two  soldiers.  As  she  entered  the  room  I  was  struck 
with  the  expression  of  her  eyes,  an  expression  of  more  than 
earthly  gentleness  and  meekness.  This  first  impression  v/as 
confirmed  in  all  my  subsequent  interviews  with  her.  From  the 
first  conversation  which  I  had  with  her  I  became  convinced 
that,  given  her  individuality  and  her  character,  she  could  never 
have  had  any  influence  on  politics  either  foreign  or  domestic. 
I  believe  this  in  the  first  place  because  of  the  essentially  femi- 
nine point  of  view  shown  by  her  on  all  political  matters  of  which 
we  talked,  and  in  the  second  place  because  of  her  loquacit)' 
and  her  complete  incapacity  to  keep  secret  even  facts  which 
might  reflect  on  herself.  I  became  convinced  that  to  ask 
Mme.  Viroubova  to  keep  anything  a  secret  was  equivalent  to 
proclaiming  it  from  the  housetops,  because  anything  that  she 
thought  important  she  felt  impelled  to  communicate,  not  only 
to  friends  but  to  possible  foes.  Noting  these  two  characteris- 
tics of  Mme.  Viroubova,  I  asked  myself  two  questions — why 
she  stood  in  close  relations  with  Rasputine,  and  what  was  the 
secret  of  her  intimacy  with  the  Imperial  family. 

"I  found  the  answer  to  the  first  question  in  conversations  with 
the  parents  of  Mme.  Viroubova,  M.  Tanief?,  chief  of  the  pri- 
vate Chancellory  of  his  Majesty,  and  his  wife,  nee  Countess 
Tolstoy.  From  them  I  learned  of  an  episode  in  the  life  of  their 
daughter  which,  in  my  opinion,  explained  why  Rasputine  ob- 
tained later  such  an  influence  over  the  will  of  the  young  woman. 
At  the  age  of  thirteen  Mme.  Viroubova  fell  gravely  ill  of 
typhus,  the  illness  being  complicated  with  peritonitis,  and  her 
condition,  according  to  the  physicians,  was  desperate.  Her 
parents  called  to  her  bedside  the  famous  priest.  Father  John 
of  Kronstadt.     Following  his  prayers  the  illness  took  a  favor- 


able  turn,  and  the  young  girl  was  soon  pronounced  out  of  dan- 
ger. This  made  a  deep  impression  on  her  mind,  and  thereafter 
strongly  inclined  her  to  a  religious  life. 

"Mme.  Viroubova  first  met  Rasputine  in  the  house  of  the 
Grand  Duchess  Melitza  Nicholaevna  (wife  of  Grand  Duke 
Peter),  and  that  meeting  was  not  a  happy  event.  The  Grand 
Duchess  had  prepared  Mme.  Viroubova  for  the  meeting  by 
conversations  on  the  subject  of  religion,  and  had  given  her 
certain  French  books  on  occult  subjects.  Later  the  Grand 
Duchess  invited  Mme.  Viroubova  to  her  house,  promising  to 
introduce  her  to  a  great  intercessor  before  God  in  favor  of 
Russia,  a  man  who  possessed  gifts  of  prophecy,  and  the  faculty 
of  curing  the  sick.  This  interview  by  Mme.  Viroubova,  then 
Mile.  Tanieff,  made  a  great  impression  on  the  young  woman 
who  was  then  on  the  eve  of  marriage  with  Lieutenant  Virou- 
bova. Rasputine  spoke  only  on  religious  subjects,  and  when  the 
young  girl  asked  him  if  he  approved  her  marriage  he  answered 
allegorically  saying  that  the  pathway  of  life  was  strewn  not  only 
with  roses  but  with  thorns,  and  that  man  progressed  towards 
perfection  only  through  sufferings  and  trials. 

"The  marriage  of  Mme.  Viroubova  was  from  the  first  un- 
happy. According  to  the  testimony  of  Mme.  Tanieff,  the  man 
was  completely  impotent,  addicted  to  perverted  practices  and 
saddistic  habits,  causing  her  daughter  the  most  frightful  moral 
sufferings  and  physical  disgust.  Nevertheless,  believing  in  the 
Biblical  injunction  'Whom  God  hath  joined  let  no  man  put 
asunder,*  Mme.  Viroubova  for  a  time  kept  her  sufferings  a 
secret  even  from  her  parents,  and  only  after  she  had  been  nearly 
killed  by  her  husband  did  she  reveal  to  them  the  tragedy  of  her 
marriage.  The  result  was,  of  course,  a  divorce.  The  testimony 
of  Mme.  Tanieff  concerning  the  moral  character  of  her  son-in- 
law  was  confirmed  by  a  medical  examination  of  Mme.  Virou- 
bova, ordered  by  the  Commission  of  Inquiry,  and  by  which  was 
established  the  virginity  of  the  young  woman.    This  examina- 


tion  was  held  in  May,  191 7.  In  consequence  of  her  shocking 
marital  experience  the  religious  inclinations  of  Mme.  Viroubova 
were  increased  and  were  developed  into  something  approaching 
religious  mania.  She  became  the  purest  and  most  sincere  ad- 
mirer of  Rasputine,  who,  up  to  the  last  day  of  his  life,  she 
considered  a  holy  man,  and  one  completely  disinterested  from 
every  worldly  point  of  view. 

"In  regard  to  the  question  of  the  intimacy  of  Mme.  Virou- 
bova with  the  Imperial  family,  I  concluded  that  it  had  its  roots 
in  the  wholly  different  mentalities  of  the  Empress  and  Mme. 
Viroubova,  that  attraction  of  opposites  which  so  often  seems 
necessary  to  complete  a  balance.  The  two  women  were  entirely 
different,  and  yet  they  had  many  things  in  common.  Both,  for 
example,  were  devotedly  fond  of  music,  and  as  the  Empress 
possessed  an  agreeable  contralto  voice  and  Mme.  Viroubova  a 
good  soprano,  they  occupied  many  leisure  hours  singing  duets. 

"Such  were  the  conditions  which  produced  in  the  minds  of 
persons  ignorant  of  the  nature  of  the  intimacy  between  the 
Empress  and  Mme.  Viroubova,  belief  in  the  exceptional  influ- 
ence of  Mme.  Viroubova  on  Court  affairs.  As  has  been  said, 
Mme.  Viroubova  possessed  no  such  influence,  nor  could  she  have 
possessed  it.  The  Empress  dominated  the  intelligence  and  the 
will  of  Mme.  Viroubova,  but  the  attachment  between  the  two 
women  was  very  strong.  The  religious  instincts  deeply  rooted 
in  their  two  natures  explains  the  tragedy  of  their  veneration  of 
Rasputine.  The  relations  between  the  Empress  and  Mme. 
Viroubova  could  be  likened  to  those  of  a  mother  and  daughter, 
nothing  more. 

"My  opinions  regarding  the  moral  qualities  of  Mme.  Virou- 
bova, resulting  from  interviews  with  her  in  the  Fortress  of 
Petropavlosk  and  in  the  Winter  Palace  were  entirely  confirmed 
by  the  forgiving  and  Christian  spirit  displayed  by  her  towards 
those  who  had  caused  her,  in  the  course  of  her  imprisonment, 
the  most  horrible  suffering.     Of  the  insults  and  tortures  to 


which  she  was  subjected  in  the  Fortress  I  did  not  learn,  in  the 
first  instance,  from  Mme.  Viroubova  herself,  but  from  her 
mother.  Only  on  direct  examination  did  Mme.  Viroubova 
confirm  her  mother's  testimony,  and  even  then  she  spoke  calmly 
and  with  astonishing  meekness,  saying  that  her  persecutors 
should  not  be  blamed  too  severely  because  they  did  not  realize 
what  they  were  doing.  These  tortures  of  the  prison  guards, 
such  as  spitting  in  her  face,  dealing  her  blows  on  the  head  and 
body,  accusing  her  of  being  the  mistress  of  the  Emperor  and 
of  Rasputine,  tearing  off  her  clothes  and  threatening  to  murder 
a  sick  woman  who  could  walk  only  with  the  aid  of  crutches, 
caused  the  Commission  of  Inquiry  to  transfer  the  prisoner  to  a 
house  formerly  occupied  by  the  Director  of  the  Gendarmerie 
(House  of  Detention).  The  testimony  of  Mme.  Viroubova 
presented  a  complete  contrast  to  that  of  Prince  Andronnikoff. 
Her  statements  were  all  candid  and  sincere,  and  their  truth  was 
subsequently  established  beyond  doubt  by  documentary  evidence. 
The  only  fault  I  found  with  Mme.  Viroubova  was  her  tendency 
to  wordiness,  and  her  amazing  habit  of  skipping  from  one  sub- 
ject to  another,  without  regard  to  the  fact  that  she  might  be 
hurting  her  own  cause.  Mme.  Viroubova  appears  to  have  inter- 
ceded at  Court  for  various  persons,  but  her  petitions  were  re- 
ceived with  a  certain  distrust  because  of  her  known  goodness 
and  her  simplicity  of  mind. 

"The  character  of  the  Empress  Alexandra  was  shown  clearly 
in  her  correspondence  with  the  Emperor  and  with  Mme. 
Viroubova.  This  correspondence,  in  French  and  English,  is 
filled  with  sentiments  of  affection  for  her  husband  and  children. 
The  Empress  occupied  herself  personally  with  the  education  of 
her  children,  and  she  often  indicates  in  her  letters  that  it  is 
desirable  not  to  spoil  them  or  to  give  them  habits  of  luxury. 
The  correspondence  reveals  also  the  deep  piety  of  the  Empress. 
In  her  letters  to  her  husband  she  often  describes  her  emotions 
during  religious  services,  and  speaks  of  the  peace  and  tranquillity 


of  her  soul  after  prayer.  Hardly  ever,  in  the  course  of  this 
long  correspondence,  are  any  allusions  made  to  politics.  The 
letters  concern  intimate  and  family  affairs  only.  In  passages  in 
which  Rasputine  is  mentioned  she  speaks  of  him  as  'that  holy 
man,'  and  shows  that  she  considers  him  one  sent  of  God,  a 
prophet,  and  a  man  who  prays  sincerely  for  the  Imperial 
family.  Through  the  whole  correspondence,  which  covers  a 
period  of  ten  years,  I  found  not  one  single  letter  written  in 
German.  According  to  the  testimony  of  Court  adherents  I 
have  proof  that  before  the  War  German  was  never  spoken  at 
Court.  Because  of  public  rumors  of  the  sympathy  of  the  Em- 
press for  Germany  and  of  the  existence  in  the  Palace  at  Tsarskoe 
Selo  of  private  wires  to  Berlin,  I  made  a  careful  examination 
of  the  apartments  of  the  Imperial  family,  and  I  found  no  indi- 
cations at  all  of  communications  between  the  Imperial  household 
of  Russia  and  the  Imperial  household  of  Germany.  I  also 
examined  the  rumors  concerning  the  beneficence  of  the  Empress 
towards  the  German  wounded  and  prisoners  of  War,  and  I 
found  that  the  Empress  showed  compassion  for  the  sufferings  of 
Germans  and  Russians  alike,  without  distinction,  desiring  to 
fulfill  the  injunction  of  Christ  who  said  that  whoever  visited 
the  sick  and  suffering  also  visited  Himself. 

"For  these  reasons,  and  above  all  on  account  of  the  frail 
health  of  the  Empress,  who  suffered  from  a  disease  of  the 
heart,  the  Imperial  family  led  a  very  retired  life,  which  favored 
the  development,  especially  in  the  Empress,  of  extreme  piety. 
Inspired  by  her  devotion  the  Empress  introduced  into  certain 
churches  attached  to  the  Court  a  regime  of  monastic  services, 
and  followed  with  delight,  in  spite  of  her  ill  health,  up  to  the 
very  end,  masses  which  lasted  for  hours  on  end.  This  same 
excessive  religious  zeal  was  the  foundation  for  her  admiration 
for  Gregory  Rasputine,  who,  possessing  an  extraordinary  power 
of  suggestion,  exercised  an  undeniably  salutary  effect  on  the 
invalid  Tsarevitch.     Because  of  her  extreme  piety  the  Empress 


was  in  no  proper  state  of  mind  to  understand  the  real  source 
of  the  amazing  influence  of  Rasputine  on  the  health  of  the 
Heir,  and  she  believed  the  explanation  to  be  due,  not  at  all  to 
hypnotism,  but  to  the  celestial  gifts  which  Rasputine  owed  to 
the  sanctity  of  his  life. 

"A  year  and  a  half  before  the  Revolution  of  191 7,  the  for- 
mer monk,  Illiador  Troufanoff,  sent  his  wife  from  Christiania 
to  Petrograd  with  the  proposal  that  the  Imperial  family  pur- 
chase the  manuscript  of  his  book,  which  later  appeared  under 
the  title  of  'The  Holy  Devil,'  in  which  the  relations  of  the 
Imperial  family  with  Rasputine  were  scandalously  represented. 
The  Police  Department  interested  itself  in  the  matter,  and 
at  its  own  imminent  risk  entered  into  negotiations  with  the 
wife  of  Illiador  concerning  the  purchase  of  the  manuscript  for 
which  Illiador  demanded,  I  am  assured,  sixty  thousand  rubles. 
The  affair  was  finally  submitted  to  the  Empress  Alexandra  who 
repudiated  with  indignation  the  vile  proposition  of  Illiador, 
saying  that  'white  could  never  be  made  black,  and  that  an  inno- 
cent person  could  never  be  assoiled.' 

"In  terminating  this  inquiry  I  believe  it  necessary  to  repeat 
that  Bishops  Theofan  and  Hermogen  contributed  importantly 
to  the  introduction  of  Rasputine  at  Court.  It  was  because  of 
their  recommendations  that  the  Empress,  in  the  beginning,  re- 
ceived Rasputine  cordially  and  confidently.  Her  sentiments 
towards  him  were  fortified  only  by  the  reasons  indicated  in  the 
course  of  this  document." 


Copy  of  certificate  of  acquittal  of  Anna  Viroubova  issued 
by  the  High  Commission  of  Inquiry,  August,  191 7. 

Ministry  of  Justice 

The  High  Commission  of  In- 
quiry into  the  acts  and  abuses 
of  Ministers  and  other  High 
Personages  of  the  Former 

25th  of  August,   191 7. 

No.  3285 


Winter  Palace 

Tel.  1-38-20  and  186. 


This  testimonial  delivered  to 
Anna  Alexandrovna  Viroubova 
at  the  end  of  the  investigation 
of  the  High  Commission  of  In- 
quiry, certifies  that  she  was 
found  not  guilty  and  that  she 
will  not  again  be  called  to 
judgment.  This  statement  is 
given  under  the  signature  and 
seal  of  the  President  of  the 
High  Commission. 
(Signed)    N.  Mourvavieff. 




MAY    4 1992 


!*-*■.  n.'vtv'vA/aS 

'"'" '^"•'- "^'''■'■^'' ''-^^'"